Keynote in Amsterdam

Monday 20th June, 2022

Law enforcement officers are on the frontline of drug policy: not only are they in charge of the implementation of drug laws but they are also charged with dealing with the associated problems of substance use, prohibition, and drug related crime. Fortunately, the Netherlands can rely on one of the best police corps in the world.

Nonetheless, even law enforcement in the Netherlands seem unable to get a grip on rising major issues, illustrated by the undermining policy, the fiscal dispositions facilitating money laundering, the murder of crime journalist Peter R. de Vries and lawyer Derk Wiersum, the increasing number of drug waste dumping. To what extent is a more effective approach possible?

During this event, experienced law enforcement officers from the Netherlands and abroad will speak out about what is missing in the frantic efforts to gain control over the illegal drug chain. Law enforcement officers are gathering in a growing movement for evidence-based drug policies called LEAP. LEAP is now established in more than 20 nations: the Dutch can’t stay behind.


Two successive panels will discuss the Dutch drug policy, its progressive specific features, its drawbacks, and the current hot topics to address.

Panel 1:

  • Neil Woods, former undercover drugs officer, author of Good Cop Bad War, and the drug policy history Drug Wars, board member of LEAP US, chair of LEAP UK, and LEAP Europe.
  • Suzanne Sharkey, former undercover drugs officer in the UK, member of LEAP UK, and treasurer of LEAP Europe.
  • Marco Antonio Jiménez Bernal, Inspector in service of the Mossos d’Esquadra and graduate Mossos in Criminology from the University of Barcelona and the International University of La Rioja. At present, the head of the Public Safety Unit Reus.
  • Anne-Marie Cockburn, author, charity campaigner, drug policy activist and founding member of Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control.

This panel will be pitched by Gemma Blok, Professor of the history of addiction care and moderated by Jane Slater who is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Transform Drug Policy Foundation, and Campaign Manager of Anyone’s Child.

Panel 2:

  • Hans v Duijn, 10 years in the police force of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, former president of the Dutch Police Union Nederlandse Politiebond, and former advisor of the Minister of Internal Affairs.
  • Bob Hoogenboom, former trainer at the Police Academy, professor at Nyenrode Business universiteit, visiting professor at London School of Economics, and professor in policing at Free University Amsterdam.
  • Alex van der Plas, chief rail security, former change manager team ondermijning at the National Police.

This panel will be pitched by Dennis Lahey, CEO User union MDHG and moderated by Bart De Koning who is a journalist for De Correspondent and Follow The Money, and author of ‘De veiligheidsmythe’ among other books.”

Programme & modalities

  • 18:30: Doors open
  • 19:00: Start
  • 19:15: Pitch 1
  • 19:20: Panel 1
  • 20:05: Break
  • 20:30: Pitch 2
  • 20:35: Panel 2
  • 21:20: Closing remarks / drinks
  • 22:00: OBA closes


The event can be followed live:

  • On-site, at OBA Oosterdok, Amsterdam, next to Central Station, 6th floor. With the minimum on-site ticket price of 5,61€, you will receive a free drink voucher for the after event.
  • Online, for free. The link will be provided later.

Besides, you can donate to the movement by selecting donation tickets.

Ticket registration

The event is aimed at law enforcement and members of the public who are concerned about the real human and financial costs of current drug laws.