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Now police are ordered to protect 'Doggers' indulging in outdoor sex with strangers from hate crime



By Charlotte Gill

Last updated at 3:58 PM on 7th October 2010




Police have been ordered to stop anyone taking in part in illegal outdoor sex being abused or verbally taunted as it can cause them to suffer post traumatic stress.

An extraordinary new Hate Crime Guidance Manual has been handed to officers telling them to arrest anyone suspected of committing a hate crime against those engaged in ‘dogging’.

Although it notes that outdoor sex can have an ‘impact on the quality of life of people using these locations for leisure pursuits’ - for example dog walkers and tourists - the rights of those cottaging, cruising or dogging must be taken into account by officers.

article-1318499-0B83EFB9000005DC-583_468x307.jpg A new Hate Crime Guidance Manual has been handed to officers warning them not to ignore 'doggers' being abused or verbally taunted in any way (file picture)


It states that even though ‘outdoor sex is unlawful’, people who take part in it still have rights which protect them from becoming victims of hate crime.

The manual, issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland last week, states that people who take part in open-air sex are ‘more susceptible to hate crime’ and can suffer ‘post traumatic stress and depression’ if they are abused, Police Review revealed.

The 60-page guide states: 'The issues surrounding public sex environments can be complex and consequently provide a challenge for the police.

'Whilst complaints regarding consensual public sex must be considered and responded to, it must also be noted that people engaging in such activity are potential targets for hate crime perpetrators.'

It states that doggers can be ‘reluctant to report victimisation in outdoor sex environments’ and says this is ‘due to a misconception that the police will primarily be interested in why they were there, as opposed to tackling hate or prejudice motivated crime’.

It goes on to say that hate crime can have a ‘lasting impact on individual victims’, adding that ‘crime targeted at an individual’s core identity also has the potential to undermine entire communities and damage community confidence in the police’.

The guide adds: 'Research has shown that any victim of crime can suffer symptoms of depression, anger, anxiety and post traumatic stress.

'Victims of non-biased crime can experience a decrease in these symptoms within two years (but) victims of bias, or hate crime, may need as long as five years to overcome their ordeal.'

In 2008, the then deputy chief constable of Lancashire Police Michael Cunningham - now the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police - issued guidance cautioning officers against ‘knee-jerk’ reactions when dealing with doggers and saying they should only be prosecuted as a ‘last resort’.

The most recent changes were made to the ‘Managing Public Sex Environments’ policy last month, and top brass say the policy has been ‘completely re-written’ following consultation with relevant groups and ‘new Association of Chief Police Officer guidance’.

It states that the new policy applies to all cops dealing with ‘public sex environments’, adding that the policy aims to ‘improve our effectiveness and the quality of service provided by the police service when policing public sex environments’ to ensure a ‘consistent, well managed, proportionate and professional approach to public sex environments’ is taken by officers.

The manual says that ‘human rights of all citizens’ must be protected and that the policy covers ‘any open space, public or private that is habitually used for the purpose of engaging in consensual same sex and opposite sex, sexual activity’, including public toilets.

It states that previous policing methods had ‘adversely affected’ the relationship between cops and people having outdoor sex and that the old methods ‘discouraged users from reporting crime to police’, leading to many unreported robberies, assaults and verbal abuse of doggers.

Les Gray, the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, told Police Review magazine today: 'I do not believe that our officers require a 60-page booklet to tell them that we should carry out our duties without fear, favour, malice or ill will.

'No matter what the circumstances our officers will always do their upmost to prevent crime in the first instance and where a crime has been committed assist the victim and endeavour to detect the culprit.

'Just because someone engages in unusual or different activities it does not preclude them from the protection of the law.

'By the same token it doesn’t mean that they will get more protection by doing so.'

One Kent officer, who did not want to be named, said: 'So now we are being told not just to turn a blind eye to public indecency, we are being told to arrest anyone who has anything bad to say against people taking part in outdoor sex.

'It’s getting to the stage that people who break the law have more rights than the normal man or woman on the street, and as for them suffering from post traumatic stress, what about the people who witness these exhibitions and are shocked by it? What about their rights.'

Hugh McKinney, of the National Family Campaign, said: 'There is a good reason that we have laws against these types of sexual behaviour in public, namely that they are deemed to be beyond what is acceptable to most reasonable people.

'Is it too much for us to expect the police to enforce the law? After all, they’re the only ones who can.'

Chief Constable Ian Latimer, of Scotland’s Northern Constabulary - which patrols the Scottish Highlands - said: 'Hate crime divides our communities and has a devastating effect on victims, their family members and the wider community.

'The manual, developed in consultation with partner agencies and victim support charities gathers best practice and provides officers with guidance on how recognise and investigate hate crime to secure the desired outcome and results for all parties involved.'

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 those who take part in ‘dogging’, where couples meet up for exhibitionist outdoor sex, and cottaging, where men meet for sex in public lavatories, face arrest for outraging public decency, voyeurism and exposure.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1318499/Doggers-indulging-outdoor-sex-protected-victimisation.html#ixzz11hhJD0tp

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