GLASGOW city centre has attracted boy racers for as long as Inspector Craig Linton can remember.

The road layout acts as a "racing grid," ideal for those eager to show off their souped-up cars.

Often young, inexperienced, and with sometimes powerful cars, up to 60 racers congregate near Pitt Street and Blythswood Square every Saturday and Sunday, before tearing around the streets.

Mr Linton said: "It's an issue for the whole community.

"It's anti-social. They're revving up and accelerating, it can be quite aggressive."

Officers are worried not just about the potential for crashes - with two young men recently narrowly escaping death when their car ploughed through an electricity box and smashed into a building in West Regent Street - but also the risk to passers-by.

Of the two road deaths in Glasgow so far this year, both were pedestrians.

He said: "In Glasgow as a whole, we get a lot of complaints about speed.

"It's the number one issue raised by members of the public and councillors.

"It can be a real issue near schools."

A quarter of all fatal crashes involve speed, he said, and it's more of a problem on Glasgow's motorways and trunk roads.

"Nevertheless, there is the potential in the city centre for someone to go speeding round a corner, unaware of what's around it," he warns. "There could be someone crossing the road."

PC Brian Hogg, 48, a police officer for 24 years, has been with the Road Police Unit for five years.

He said people are never short of an excuse for speeding.

"They tell you anything, generally they're rushing to the hospital or something," he says.

Officers are sent to known speeding and accident hotspots, and to areas where problems have been flagged up by members of the public.

PC Hogg added: "We try to vary where we go, try and mix it up a bit."

Cowal Road, in Maryhill, is notorious for speeding. "People use it as a rat run," he says.

He and colleague PC Roger Summers, 49, pull up by the roadside with a laser speed gun. Within seconds, cars are flashing oncoming vehicles to warn them of the police presence.

In under two minutes, one car is clocked doing 37mph, then one doing 42mph.

Both drivers are pulled over. The first is given a warning, the second a ticket.

"He was going way too fast," says PC Summers.

The driver, a young man who has recently passed his test, thought it was a 40mph zone, he tells police.

He does not take issue with the ticket and thanks the officers as he drives away.

PC Summers says "the majority" of drivers do not get antagonistic towards them.

"They are generally ok," he says. "They understand we're there to make it safer for everyone."

PC Hogg adds: "People think they know the roads well and how fast you can take a corner but what if there is something unexpected round the corner? We get a lot of pedestrians knocked down in the city centre and it's not necessarily high speed. You also get inexperienced drivers going out in much too powerful cars."

The two officers have seen too many tragedies to be complacent about speeding.

"I don't think it's acceptable - it's the one issue people always ring the police about," PC Summers says.

"Things like drink driving are socially unacceptable now. Speeding should be like that. I think it's getting there."