Neil Woods

Neil Woods

Author, Journalist

Neil Woods spent fourteen years (1993-2007) infiltrating drug gangs as an undercover policeman – befriending and gaining the trust of some of the most violent, unpredictable criminals in Britain. With the insight that can only come from having fought on its front lines, Neil came to see the true futility of the War on Drugs – that it demonises those who need help, and only empowers the very worst elements in society. Neil is now a board member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), a pro-legalisation advocacy group formed exclusively of ex-law enforcement officials, and he also starred on Channel 4’s Drugs Live.

Neil’s memoir, Good Cop, Bad War: My Double Life Undercover with the Drug Gangs, co-written with JS Rafaeli, was published by Ebury (Random House) in 2016.

His follow-up, A Very British War will be published by Ebury in 2018.

Neil appeared in BBC 3’s Drugs Map of Britain, where he discussed his time undercover and how it informed his current approach to drug legislation. Various publications, including the Guardian, The Mirror and Huffington Post have also featured his work.

Listen to his SOAP podcast here or hear him talk about Writing an End to the War or Drugs here.

Neil Woods @wudzee0

Thank you to @OwenJones84 for highlighting our statement about the government’s decision to classify nitrous oxide and create another raft of criminalisation. A far bigger issue than it may at first seem, so we’re grateful to Owen to making this clear:

Police are strip searching children, and drugs policing is driving this horrendous practice.

Me quoted in this piece by @Narcomania

@SkyNews The government typically ignores the
expert drugs advice in receives.

@Brick_Cop Drug #prohibition and its partner law enforcement causing more harm than good. Drug dealers will just do what's necessary to make their obscene profits. We must regulate and control all drugs to stop this. #druglawreform @wudzee0

It may go without saying, but this is not good, not good at all. We have to do better!

Police carried out 2,800 strip searches on children as young as 8 in four years @DaveBurke12

Just in case you missed it, here’s our statement about the concerning decision by the government and opposition to support the classification of nitrous oxide.

A statement from LEAP UK on the government’s decision on Nitrous Oxide. In the strongest terms we challenge the government’s decision.

Please do share if you support our stance.

cc @SuellaBraverman @ukhomeoffice @RishiSunak @Keir_Starmer @LucyMPowell

When Michael Gove says ‘it’s right to ban nitrous oxide’ we should be clear that he’s saying that it’s right to ignore the independent advice given to the government by the ACMD.

Michael Gove defends UK government plan to ban laughing gas by @alethaadu

And the opposition party also agrees with making up drug policy on the hoof, based on their personal beliefs rather than independent evidence of the government’s own advisory council.

And there we go. Yet again the government ignore all advice its given. Nitrous Oxide to become a banned substance. Looks like they’re yet to make up their minds on the arbitrary classification though.

banning nitrous oxide because of littering with whippits is as daft as banning alcohol because people discard cans and bottles. Disproportionate & dangerous - will lead to use of bigger canisters w more gas. A better option is to 10 p for every whippit returned @Drug_Science

@Ryanthorpe @sleafordmods @wudzee0 We’d be only too happy to speak with Sleaford Mods over this. Especially if they would be interested in a podcast…? It really helps our work having artists share their views.

"The impact that a criminal conviction can have on someone’s life chances can be vastly more damaging than the harms caused by drug use."

Great insight into a police officer's perspective on the reality of drug laws

Powerful testimony from @wudzee0 today. Drug gangs have adapted to our drug laws by employing thousands of children in the drugs trade. It’s time for a different approach

@tonyduffin @BallymunLDATF @wudzee0 @dbazzie @wudzee0 really doing your bit for Ireland this week 🤣❤️ Help me out up north on Wed as well (clip from April 2021 webinar) ✊

It was an honour to be part of this great event today.

- As the rest of the world, including many countries in Europe, make progress with legal cannabis systems, we have the leader of the opposition aligned with the lack of evidence of the current government. No difference in the two main parties. This is of great concern.

We’ve expressed concerns over comments and positions of @Keir_Starmer and his latest speech gives us even more concern. We have to get away from the political rhetoric of ‘tough on crime’, we need far more holistic and nuanced approaches. Especially with drug policy.

Important. It’s about the survival of the planet