Drugs, Guns & Lies My life as an undercover cop 

Reviewed By  Nan van Dissel       July 5, 2020


Author  Keith Banks with Ben Smith

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781760877958
Publisher:         Allen and Unwin
Release Date:   July 2020  

Website:    https://www.allenandunwin.com 

Policing is difficult at the best of times; in Queensland in the 1980s and 1990s it was more so. It was both challenging and frustrating, as the police were dealing not only with villains in the community but also with criminals within their own ranks! In his book ‘Drugs, Guns & Lies’, one of Queensland’s most decorated police officers, Keith Banks exposes both the many short comings of this state’s policing and also the political corruption existing at this time.

As an idealistic 18 year old Banks passed out of the Police Academy and was sworn in as a proud new policeman ready to help make the world a better place. Within a few years and little actual training, he became an undercover officer in the Drug Squad, traversing Queensland to outwit the dealers and keep drugs off the streets, thereby minimizing the harm to the population. Looking back, Banks now believes the undercover agents were just cannon fodder sent into the front line to integrate with criminal networks, buy drugs and organise busts for the more senior detectives to take the credit!

This committed young policeman soon discovered that the 1980s in Queensland and its police force was a time of contradiction and ambiguity; there was little respect from the general public for the police. With Terry Lewis and his cronies at its head, there was statewide corruption; the author began to question the motivation and competence of some senior officers – he didn’t trust many policemen.

Although, the Fitzgerald Inquiry exposed a high level of corruption, the author points out that there were many committed and honest police who diligently undertook their daily job and that it’s a great shame that post this inquiry, the general public had an even greater distrust of the police.

True Crime readers will find this an interesting and compelling read as Banks gives the reader an insight into the day to day operations of the Drug Squad and its undercover agents. By reflecting on the policing procedures and practices of the 1980s and 1990s, he gives the reader a real understanding of the trauma and sacrifice which these agents made to do their job successfully.