The policing of cuckooing in ‘County Lines’ drug dealing: An ethnographic study of an amplification spiral

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Abstract

Responding to cases of ‘cuckooing’, where drug dealers take over other people’s homes, has become a significant policing activity in the United Kingdom. Drawing on ethnographic data and the deviancy amplification spiral model, this article theorizes how police responses to cuckooing emerged, developed and became established. Five stages of the spiral are outlined: identifying cuckooing as a problem; demonstrating a response; spreading the problem; making it other people’s problem too; the establishment of a policing priority. The article advances amplification theory by considering it from within the setting of the police and the contemporary drug supply context of County Lines. It concludes by stressing the importance of critically considering the dynamic relationship between the police and their drug market targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1390–1406
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Volume61
Issue number5
Early online date8 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

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