The use of enforcement to combat 'street culture' in England: An ethical approach?

S Fitzpatrick, S Johnsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Within a social justice ethical framework, the use of ‘enforcement’ measures to prevent people from engaging in ‘street activities’, such as begging and street drinking, can only be morally justified if such initiatives can be shown to benefit the welfare of the vulnerable ‘street users’ affected. It may be hypothesized that this is unlikely, and such measures are bound to be regressive in their effects, but in fact evidence from an evaluation conducted in five locations across England suggests otherwise. Drawing on a normative framework which engages with both moral and political philosophy, this paper argues that the motivations and impacts associated with enforcement are more ethically complex, and less punitive, than they 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 is always a high-risk strategy, even if ethically justifiable in certain circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-302
Number of pages19
JournalEthics and Social Welfare
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)
  • Begging
  • Enforcement
  • Rough Sleeping
  • Social Justice
  • Street Drinking
  • Street Homelessness


Dive into the research topics of 'The use of enforcement to combat 'street culture' in England: An ethical approach?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this