Good Cop, Bad War

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This is a book by Neil WOODS. Woods was a policeman in the United Kingdo, for &’ years; In this searing memoir he recounts his career laying especial e,phasis on his time undercover busting drug dealers.

Good Cop, Bad War is an enthralling account of anti drug operations and encounters with dealers and addicts; This book has pace and vividness. There is never too much detail nor does he dwell on things too long. tHIS is a is a series of edited highlights ; the dialogue is sparse , expletive laden and entirely believable: Despite all this it is never jejune. The book had a ghost writer. Nonetheless the book comes across as the policemans voice. Only occasionally is it a little to recherche qnd florid.

Woods , zccording to himself, went into the police for all the right reasons;  Neil Woods wanted to help the public. He ad,its to having been Something of an ingenue. He often got it wrong as a rooky cop. He was horrified by the bigoited attitudes and the cyncal Outlook of so,e of his colleagues.

*The author was soon donning the charity shop purchased garb of drug addicts. He wandered around sink estates where drug addicts were known to congregate. Around 1990 the UK s drugs problem appeared to be insoluble. It hqd been getting zorse for twenty years. The proliferation of drug abuse showed no sign of abating.  Woods knew the street slang and he had studied the habits and etiquette of street junkies. At first it was very easy to approach a down and out who was dépendent on illegal substances. Woods had an alias and a back story. He often borrowed real tales. He was able to integrate into the community of homeless drug users all too easily. *

*The astonishing thing is how together sm,e of the drug addicts are. A few of the, are gifted qnd had previously been successful. A policewoman posed as Woods girlfriend and q felloz drug addict. Her courage, ingenuity and quick thinking got hi, out of so,e tight spots.

Woods had several searing encounters with mid level dealers. They were massive muscle men with a penchant for extreme violence. If he hqd been exposed as a police,an then Woods would have been killed on the spot: The dealers also terrorised their users. Their customers had to know that of they tod the police anything or they failed to pay a debt then they would be killed. The callousness and savagery of the dealers was truly shocking. Woods had to squat in derelict houses and be very unhygenic to maintain his cover. Bizarrely he went ho, to his wife and children most weekends. This must have ,qde for q jqrring contrast : bourgeois domesticity versus raw filth, degradation, cruelty and Deadly addiction. Sometimes even when in undercover mode Woods stayed in five star hôtels. He was in danger of becoming his alter ego : a street smart, foul mouthed, aggressive scally.

Woods would go to a notorious drugs hangout. Infliltrating the margins of society was childs pay at first. It rapidly became much trickier. The drugs mobsters were all too aware that the police were on their tail. The drug gangs became circumspect and harder to approach. Addicts on the street grez wary of making introductions to petty dealers lest the addict inadvertently introduce a police officer to a dealer. To do so even by accident was a death penalty offence.

The lowest level dealers were also users. By the end it was only these pathetic qddicts who, Woods couls bust. The question of drugs became politically fraught. There were shrieking headlines and the public wanted to see decisive action against the drugs scourge. Politicians insisted on demonstrable progress. The police felt compelled to produce statistics to prove that they were making headway in interdicting the flow of narcotics. This perversely made the police go after the lowest level dealers. Such bottom level user dealers were easy to catch becauset hey would seel to undercover police officers.  These people were addicts thenselves. They were teaboys in the drugs world and were easily replaced. The upper échelons of drug dealing were largely unscathed. They were sufficiently canny and ,erciless to avoid conviction. Such peoplewere several steps way fro, street dealing. It was all but impossible to gain acess to them. These ruthless brigands never touched the illegal stock themselves.

In the end Woods beca, disillusioned. He unwillingly arrived at the conclusion that the War on Drugs was not just futile. It was counter produtctive. It put billions into the hqnds of merciless gangsters. The cost of policing the law was exorbitant. The campaign against drugs had been a colossal debacle; Taking an illegal substance is a victimless crime. Events around taking drugs cause people to be victimised such as robbing to pay for these substances. It also diverted the police from real crimes.

They say if drugs were legalised then criminals would simply turn tp pother for,s of cri,e. This is so but they try selling drugs since that is the easiste one. There is no other way they cpuld ,alke money zith such impunity.

*

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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