A man has been arrested on suspicion of ‘outraging public decency’ after reportedly strolling down Exeter High Street with no clothes on.
On the afternoon of the 16th of November, police were called to Exeter city centre near Princesshay shopping centre to apprehend a man strolling naked down the road. Eyewitnesses described at least seven police officers on the scene, some of whom were armed– placing Devon and Cornwall police under scrutiny for what some have have called called a ‘misuse of police resources’.
Unarmed, the man was taken into police custody by police called to the scene
Unarmed, the man was taken into police custody by police called to the scene and it is not known if he will be charged.
Devon Live reported that a witness to the incident which occurred around 3pm on Wednesday said the following, “There were at least seven officers after he was just walking willy nilly down the High Street enjoying his time out.”
“Walking naked at this time of year may be unusual but it is not criminal, or harmful in any way.”
Online, the response has been similar. Naturist Twitter user Juliette Gill referred to the police response as, “a misuse of police resources. Walking naked at this time of year may be unusual but it is not criminal, or harmful in any way.”
The non-criminal aspect of the man’s mid-afternoon stroll are likely an indirect reference to the following guidelines, taken from the Crown Prosecution Service website:
“In the absence of any sexual context and in relation to nudity where the person has no intention to cause alarm or distress it will normally be appropriate to take no action unless members of the public were actually caused harassment, alarm or distress…” (source: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/nudity_in_public)
There has been no word on this particular arrest from Devon and Cornwall Police on either their website or Twitter feed. The as of yet unknown Exeter naked man was kept in custody overnight.
Exeposé News contacted Devon and Cornwall Police regarding the incident, to which they replied:
“An armed response was NOT requested for this incident.”
“For clarity – an armed response was NOT requested for this incident. We have a number of armed response officers who are part of our roads policing unit and therefore are on patrol in their vehicles. They attended as they were simply the nearest available unit at that time, they were not sent instead of unarmed officers.
A 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of outraging public decency.”