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Durham University

Policy, Professions and Communities Research Group


Publication details for Professor Fiona Measham

Hadfield, Phil & Measham, Fiona (2015). The outsourcing of control: Alcohol law enforcement, private-sector governance and the evening and night-time economy. Urban Studies 52(3): 517-537.

Author(s) from Durham


England and Wales have experienced a decade of transformation concerning the legislative governance of urban public drinking spaces, yet the Evening and Night-time Economy (ENTE) retains its position at the top of ‘community safety’ agendas. This article reflects upon our research on alcohol law enforcement. We explore how some alcohol laws are ill-fit-for-purpose, whilst others are considered too difficult, or costly, to pursue. Subtle negotiations of compliance in which regulator and regulated form ‘partnerships’ are, at best, increasing trust and the flow of intelligence, and at worst, breeding complacency, inaction and regulatory capture. Gaps between headline statutory objectives and their delivery through policy implementation are being filled by corporate actors mobilising resources in line with central government predilections towards the outsourcing of control. In particular, the alcohol and hospitality industries promote ‘voluntary alternatives’ to the statutory roles and enforcement powers of city authorities and police. Replacing traditional law enforcement activity with self-regulation by alco-centric commercial interests is unlikely to assist attempts by public bodies, NGOs and other business sectors to engineer more diversified and inclusive urban nightscapes.