Wednesday, 2 July 2008


Monday, 7 January 2008

Policing Studland 2007


THE BARE ESSENTIALS Number 38 Nov 2007

More in The Bare Essential No 38...

13 Readers' pictures - entries in our Photo Competition

2007 in cartoons - from the inimitable Ricky

Police Log 2007 - the law is an ass when it comes to our naked arses!

Chairman's Year in review



Lead Article The Bare Essentials No 38 Nov 2007

Dateline:Tuesday 4th September 2007. Studland beach representative Paul is arrested by Dorset Police. He received minor injuries to his chest and wrists and witnesses claim the police used unnecessary force.

The rocky relationship between naturists and Dorset Police has been severely damaged by the forceful arrest of a well-known and respected member of the naturist community, and regular user of the nudist beach at Studland on the Isle of Purbeck.

The 60-year old man, who prefers to be known simply as Paul, is a member of Studland United Nudists and has served as one of its representatives on the Studland Beach Users Action Group. The group is a multi-agency subcommittee of the Purbeck Community Safety Action Group, and this year won an award from the Home Office in recognition of the work it has done to tackle anti-social behaviour at Studland. Amongst others, it includes representatives from Dorset Police; Dorset, Purbeck, and Studland councils; the National Trust. and the naturist organisations, BN, SUN, and Castaways.

Following difficulties over procedural matters, Paul resigned from the group on 31 August, with commendations for his contributions coming from a number of members including BN and Castaways representatives.

On 4 September he was sunbathing in his usual spot about fifteen feet outside the marked naturist area when he heard shouting coming from a women police officer and a National Trust warden who were harassing a naturist who was also beyond the Trust's designated area. According to Paul, the officer was demanding names and addresses, car registrations, and credit card details from people who were outside the area, and also wanted to know if they were members of the SUN group. Paul pointed out that the posts marking the area had no standing in English law, and that as no one was acting unlawfully, she had no right to ask for the information.


After some argument about the legality of her actions, the officer said she was going to arrest Paul under "Section 5' but he advised her to check with Purbeck section commander Inspector Ashley Adams with whom he had previously negotiated regarding policing on the beach. He insisted that he was doing nothing illegal, and in order to calm a difficult situation walked away and went for a swim. By the time he walked back from the sea, a small and concerned crowd had gathered, and then two uniformed officers. described by a number of witnesses as thugs, arrived in a police Land Rover and without further ado handcuffed him, then knocked him to the ground. At that point he was in the middle of the designated area and no possible grounds for arrest under Section 5 could exist. In the event he was not told the reason for his arrest, or given the required caution. He was taken to Poole police station, and the police dumped him back at the Sandbanks side of the ferry some six hours later. With no money for the fare to the other side to collect his clothes and belongings, he was left to cycle the five miles back to his home in the cold and dark. wearing only his shorts, and with no footwear. He was not charged, but released on police bail whilst the Crown Prosecution Service considers the case. Although anyone has a right to use a camera in a public place, the police ordered a SUN member who was taking photographs of the incident to stop. However, Paul still has photographic evidence of the violent arrest, and the injuries he sustained, as well as eight witnesses, some of whom 1 have spoken with, all prepared to confirm his allegations. He has made a formal complaint about his treatment to the Professional Standards Department of Dorset Police.

There are always two sides to a story, and in order to give a balanced account I have sought the police version of events, but no one from Purbeck section of Dorset Police seems prepared to comment.


Following a report in May that showed complaints against Dorset Police had risen by over 20% in the past year, with a third being for rude, abusive, confrontational, and intimidating behaviour, Chief Constable Martin Baker called for officers to consider their attitudes,, and carry out their duties in a polite and professional manner. In view of this incident, and my own experiences, he might usefully have instructed his men to only act lawfully as well. According to the Dorset Police Authority, you have the right to expect the police to treat you fairly and with respect, free from harassment, bullying, victimisation, or discrimination. There can be little confidence that those high standards will be met whilst Dorset police appear to be taking their instructions from the National Trust - which pays them to patrol the area - and enforcing its nudist ghetto by eagerly playing the part of the Gestapo.

Thanks to Bob for this incisive report. Members are urged to write to Dorset Police to voice their complaints at the treatment of Paul.