Policing the Roads: Traffic Cops, 'Boy Racers' and Anti-social Behaviour

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the policing and regulation of young motorists known in the United Kingdom as ‘boy racers’. It demonstrates how police officers' definitional decisions in relation to driving behaviours were influenced by a range of exogenous and endogenous factors, which subsequently shaped the landscape of enforcement and interactions with the community and drivers. A shift over time in the nature of the problem due to urban regeneration, innovations in the technology of the motor car and the availability of anti-social behaviour legislation impacted upon the policing of urban space. The strategies employed in order to police the culture and the related urban space were reminiscent of a deeper policing tradition wherein managing incivilities and local problems is part of the community policing perspective. Data is presented from semi-structured interviews with police, residents and ‘boy racers’, and ethnographic fieldwork with the drivers in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-221
Number of pages18
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2012


  • boy racers
  • policing
  • ethnography
  • anti-social
  • community policing
  • traffic policing


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