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07948 518 958

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Hemel Hempstead Police Station

Combe Street

Hemel Hempstead

Hertfordshire

HP11HL

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LEGISLATION

Although nudity in Paganism is regularly mentioned in the media it remains an relatively uncommon practice in the UK.

 

The act of performing rituals 'skyclad' is a relatively recent one, with Wicca and neopaganism primarily being responsible for the introduction of the practice, although certain other Pagan practitioners, such as Shamans, may involve nudity in their cerermonies and rituals.

 

Whilst there are several pieces of legislation that relate to nudity in the UK, many of them have specific caveats that allow for statutory defences in law, so as to ensure that they are used for the purpose that they were drafted; however public figures such as Stephen Gough the 'naked rambler' has been arrested several times for Breaching the Peace - albeit on occasions in Scotland, where the law varies slightly.

 

Basic public nudity was originally covered by definition of Breaching the Peace in the Justices of the Peace Act 1361 in which it was written that "...neither the King nor His people be endamaged by Rioters or Rebels, nor the Peace blemished, nor Merchants passing through the Realm be disturbed nor put in peril by such Offenders..."

 

The Public Order Act 1986 was more recently used to deal with public nudity under the definition of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused alarm or distress. It is worth noting that this legislation offers defences in that the offence cannot be committed by someone in a dwelling when the other person is also inside that or another dwelling. In addition no offence is committed where the person has no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused alarm or distress.

 

In addition, a person is guilty of an offence under section 5 of this legislation only if he intends his behaviour to be threatening, abusive or insulting, or is aware that it may be threatening, abusive or insulting or (as the case may be) he intends his behaviour to be or is aware that it may be disorderly.

 

Common Law and, more recently, the Sexual Offences Act 2003, cover the offence of Indecent Exposure. For an offence to be committed under this legislation the offender has to have exposed themselves with the intent of causing someone to see them and be alarmed or distressed.

 

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ANIMAL WELFARE RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS BLADED ARTICLES THE PAGAN OATH
PUBLIC NUDITY
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andrew.pardy@herts.pnn.police.uk

07948 518 958

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Hemel Hempstead Police Station

Combe Street

Hemel Hempstead

Hertfordshire

HP1 1HL

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