A man has been arrested for pleasuring himself in public in Homerton.
Officers on patrol along Well Street were alerted by a member of public to a man who had indecently exposed himself at 4.20pm on Monday 6 March, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police.
Homerton Police tweeted the incident alongside the hashtag #thatsnotcoolbro.
— Homerton Police (@MPSHomerton) March 6, 2017
— Homerton Police (@MPSHomerton) March 7, 2017
The man was arrested and taken into custody at an east London police station.
He was subsequently sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
He has been bailed in relation to the police investigation to a date in late April.
Public masturbation is prohibited in the UK under section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 and section 28 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847, which state it is an offence for anyone to “willfully and indecently” expose his “person” in a street or public place to the obstruction, annoyance or danger of residents. The overall penalty incurred is dependent on a range of circumstantial factors, but offenders can face around 14 days in prison.
But in some European countries, such as Italy and Sweden, the act may not result in a custodial sentence. In September last year, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the three-month jail sentence of a 69-year-old man who was caught exhibiting himself in front of female students in Catania, Sicily, and demanded that he pay a fine between €5,000 and 30,000 (£4,343 and 26,063) instead. “The act is no longer regarded as a crime by the law,” the Supreme Court ruled.
This post was updated on 8 March to reflect Homerton Police’s amended statement that the incident took place on 6 March, not 7 March. It was separately updated on 9 March to clarify that public masturbation may not result in a custodial sentence in other countries.
(Top image credit: geograph.co.uk via Wikimedia Commons)