Policing the tracks, detecting malpractice and dealing with the racketeers and ‘shady’ individuals, 1926 to c. 1961
in Going to the dogs
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In the early years of greyhound racing there was always the charge that it was a dissipate and morally dubious activity vulnerable to being manipulated by criminal elements because of the opportunities for malpractice that it offered. The ‘human tote’ operated during the ‘Tote crisis’ of 1932–34 seemed to confirm the potential for illegal totes and fraud. However, the facts do not support the general view of the seedy and criminal nature of the greyhound tracks. Several national surveys of the views of the chief constables of England, Wales, Scotland and the Metropolitan Police, which became increasingly sophisticated, reveal that there were malpractices but that it was on a minor scale. Indeed, the Metropolitan Police withdrew from policing the greyhound tracks in the mid-1930s and most NGRS tracks developed their own security under the control of former CID officers. Beyond the Sabinis, who operated at Brighton and Hove stadium, and Alf White, there is little evidence that gangs ran the tracks as had occurred in horse racing in the ‘turf gang wars’ of the early 1920s. In essence, greyhound racing operated a form of consensual policing.

Going to the dogs

A history of greyhound racing in Britain, 1926–2017


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