Police have been told to protect the human rights of people who have sex in public by treating them as VICTIMS rather than criminals, it emerged today
Guidance has been issued to officers warning that people who indulge in perverse outdoor sex acts such as ‘cottaging’ and ‘dogging’ must be protected.
The 60-page document claims that police should always investigate allegations of abuse made by people enjoying outdoor sex – despite the fact it is illegal.
Advice in the Hate Crime Enforcement Manual, published this week, claimed violent attacks on doggers often go unreported as victims are too embarrassed to come forward.
The document reads: ”The issues surrounding public sex environments can be complex and consequently provide a challenge for the police.
”While 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.
”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.”
Shamed singer George Michael, 47, has admitted cottaging – meeting gay men for sex in toilets – in the past.
Hardman Eastender actor Steve McFadden, 51, was caught dogging in a car park with a stranger five years ago.
Les Gray, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, believes officers ”do not need” a booklet telling them how to fight crime.
He said: ”I do not believe our officers require a 60-page booklet to tell them 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.”
Councils have been forced to tackle complaints from distressed residents of ‘outdoor sex’ over the past decade.
Surrey County Council is considering releasing a herd of bulls into a field on the A31 at Puttenham after 300 complaints about dogging in a layby.
Earlier this year 6,000 trees were cut down at a beauty spot on the outskirts of Darwen, Lancashire, with councillors claiming it would act as a deterrent to people going dogging.
In Leicestershire, a wildlife area was bulldozed at a dogging hotspot in 2007.
A popular picnic site in Derbyshire was transformed, with bushes cut down to make the car park more visible and gates costing £1,000 installed at the Highoredish site.