All Cops Are Bastards – what exactly does ACAB mean?

All Cops Are Bastards

ACAB – is one of the most popular slogans in the stands around the world. What exactly does this short mean and why is it so often used by football fanatics?

What exactly does ACAB mean?

ACAB is an abbreviation of the English words: All Cops Are Bastards. The “love” of fanatics for the police is well known to everyone, so it isn’t surprising that fanatis very often present flags and choreos with 4 well-known letters in the football world.

History of ACAB

Acronym ACAB – what can be surprising – doesn’t originally come from football stadiums or from the ultras community. The first recorded use of the slogan “All Coppers Are Bastards” was in the 1920s in England. Short version – ACAB appeared in the 1940s as a slogan used by striking workers.

However, the real popularity of the ACAB slogan didn’t appear until the 1970s, when it began to be popular on prison tattoos, prison cell walls, and even in the title of a British crime movie.

In the 1980s, ACAB became a symbol of opposition to the establishment, especially in the punk and skinhead subcultures. Finally popularized by The 4-Skins band and their song “A.C.A.B.” this term has become a permanent part of the English vocabulary and has settled down especially in the slang of football fanatics.

ACAB worldwide

  • in Germany, the use of the term ACAB is prohibited when it refers to specific person, but allowed if it refers to a larger group
  • in Austria, the use of the phrase ACAB is considered a violation of public decency and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment
  • in 2011, three Ajax fans were fined for 1312 T-shirts
  • in 2016, Spanish police filed charges against a woman who was walking around with a bag labeled “All Cats Are Beautiful”
  • in 2017, the Croatian police fined a man who posted a photomontage on Facebook with the caption “Fuck da Police A.C.A.B.”
  • in 2019, the Belarusian police arrested a fan wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “1312”, which is considered extremist material in Belarus
  • arrests and fines for ACAB clothing and flags also regularly occur in other European countries, as well as in Indonesia and North America.


Very often letters ACAB are replaced by the numbers: 1312.


  • 1 = A (first letter of the alphabet),
  • 3 = C,
  • 1 = A,
  • 2 = B

In many countries, such as the Netherlands, the use of the ACAB is prohibited. However, football fans avoid this ban in various ways, explaining the famous ACAB as:

  • All Colours Are Beautiful
  • All Cats Are Beautiful

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In the best shop for football fanatics – PGWEAR Ultras Shop you can find T-shirts, sweatshirts and various accessories: e.g. flags to hang on the fence with ACAB designs. Our offer also includes the highest quality 1312 T-shirts.

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