Naturism group hits back at police claim that walking naked on bridlepath is ‘obviously unacceptable’

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A naturism group has criticised a police force for saying walking naked along a bridlepath in Northamptonshire was “obviously unacceptable behaviour”.

Officers received several reports recently of a man walking along a path near the Bedfordshire border naked.

PC Katherine Hardy, from Bedfordshire Police, said: “This is obviously unacceptable behaviour and I would urge anyone with information to contact us.”

However, deputy campaign director for British Naturism, Juliette Gill, said the comment was “totally inappropriate”.

“Being naked is not illegal in England and Wales and the Crown Prosecution Service’s own guidelines state that unless there is a sexual context or the public were actually caused harassment, alarm and distress legal action will not normally be taken.

“We don’t know the intent of the man concerned in this report. However, for PC Hardy to advise that it was obviously unacceptable behaviour without knowing the circumstances seems totally inappropriate.

“We have a presumption in this country that someone is innocent until proven guilty and that principle does not appear to have applied here.”

Ms Gill said the matter was going to be raised with the police by the organisation.

British Naturism has its headquarters in Northampton.

“We promote nudity as a social, healthy and wholesome lifestyle for individuals and families and campaign for public acceptance and the right to be naked outdoors,” she added.

“Are we really harming anyone by enjoying our lifestyle?”