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About IDEA

Who are we?

The Independent Drug Expert Alliance has been formed as an Inclusive, Impartial, yet Independent Network of Drug Experts.


The Alliance does not exclude any person, in the interests of fairness, transparency and impartiality within both the drug expert arena and the criminal courts of the United Kingdom.

Formed by (retired) police officers, who are still practising drug experts and trainers, and one of the UK's most respected and experienced forensic scientists, we believe that there is too much unnecessary secrecy and hoarding of information by CJS drug experts, from both sides, and there needs to be greater transparency. 


Through the sharing of credible, reliable, and critical information we can collectively help to reduce both time and costs within UK criminal drug trials, as well as expanding the knowledge of all drug expert witnesses.

We aim to support any member that acts as a Drug Expert Witness, or associated field of expertise, within the Criminal Justice System.

Our Aims & Intentions.

At our core is the open and impartial sharing of knowledge in a complex field with the aim of expanding the expertise of all drug expert witnesses.

  • To be Inclusive as an Alliance

  • To remain Impartial as Individuals

  • To support each other as Independent Drug Expert Witnesses

IDEA Council

Dr Simon Harding

Dr. Simon Harding, former Professor in Criminology at the University of West London, has over 40 years' experience in criminology, crime reduction, and community safety. Simon is the Director of the National Centre for Gang Research Ltd., advising a number of governmental bodies and departments on matters including youth violence, gangs, knives, and county lines.

Simon is also an expert witness for both defence and the crown, specialising in areas such as street gangs, gang slang, criminal exploitation, county lines, knife crime, and modern slavery.

In addition to his expert witness role, Simon actively engages with gang-affiliated youths, conducts independent research, and provides consultancy services. He has served in an advisory capacity for the London Mayor’s Office, the Home Office, HMICFRS, the NCA, and the Metropolitan Police Service.

Simon is a much sought-after public and conference, keynote speaker and media contributor, regularly lending his expertise to national debates on numerous criminological matters.
We welcome his expertise, as we do with Grace and Zack, to the Council of the Independent Drug Expert Alliance.
Simon is located in the London area but works across the UK, and wider.

Zack Newton 

Zack is a very recently retired police officer and member of police staff with Wiltshire Police where he has gained over 31 years policing experience, 15 years of which as a Drug Expert.

Zack takes up his new role very soon, as a Casework Consultant Drugs Specialist at Keith Borer Consultants and will take instruction from both prosecution & defence teams. Zack is located in the South West.

Dr Grace Robinson

Grace is the Founder and CEO of Black Box Research and Consultancy; a criminal justice consultancy specialising in modern slavery, and Co-Founder of Youth In Justice, a Community Interest Company supporting children and vulnerable adults affected by modern slavery.


Grace completed her PhD on street gangs and criminal exploitation in 2019 and has since served as an independent expert witness in over 300 criminal court and asylum tribunal cases. Grace has applied her expertise in modern slavery to various legal matters, including international drug trafficking, county lines, cannabis cultivation, weapons offences, fraud, burglary, and robbery. Grace is located in the London area but works across the country.

Grace can be found listed on the JS Publications list of Experts.


Alan Baker BSc (Hons), CChem, MRSC, MEWI
Forensic Scientist and practising Independent Expert Witness
Director of Bericon Forensics, one of the UK’s oldest forensic science consultancies.​

Alan is a Member of the Expert Witness Institute EWI

and takes instructions from all parties

Matt Lockyer

Retired Police officer, with over 20 years' experience as a drugs trainer, and latterly as a practising Independent Expert Witness. Matt has extensive experience in investigating drugs trafficking at all levels of the supply chain and takes instruction from both Prosecution and Defence teams through his company Expert Evidence Training & Consultancy.

Matt is a Member of the National Expert Witness Agency NEWA.


Derek Mason

Retired Police officer having served as a Detective for over 25 years and currently working as an Independent Drugs Expert Witness. Derek takes instruction from both Prosecution and Defence teams.

Darrell Jones MA

Retired Police officer, with a Masters Degree in Criminology, Darrell set up DJ Drugs Expert Witness Ltd and takes instruction from both Prosecution & Defence teams across the UK as a practising Independent Expert Witness in drug trafficking.

Darrell is a Member of the Expert Witness Institute EWI and the National Expert Witness Agency NEWA

Adrian Parsons

Retired Police officer, owner of Appropriate Training & Consultancy Ltd, delivering bespoke drugs training to Law Enforcement and a practising Independent Expert Witness in UK domestic Illicit drug markets.

Adrian takes instruction from both Prosecution and Defence teams and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute EWI Training & Events committee as well as a member of Expert Witness.


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