The use of enforcement to combat begging and street drinking in England: a high risk strategy?

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    Abstract

    The use of ‘enforcement’ measures to remove homeless people from public spaces and/or to deter them from engaging in ‘street activities’, such as begging and street drinking, has become an increasingly high profile and controversial issue in many countries. This paper summarises the key findings of a study which sought to evaluate the impact of enforcement interventions on the welfare of people engaged in street activities in England. It argues that careful appraisal of the way in which enforcement is actually implemented ‘on the ground’ revealed that the situation is rather more complex and less punitive than it may at first appear. It demonstrates that the use of enforcement measures, when accompanied by appropriate support can, in fact, lead to beneficial outcomes for some individuals involved in begging or street drinking in some situations. The outcomes for other members of the street population can, however, be very negative and are highly unpredictable, such that the use of enforcement, even when accompanied by intensive support, is always a high risk strategy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-204
    Number of pages14
    JournalEuropean Journal of Homelessness
    Volume2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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