Scientist looking at test results

Intelligence and Investigations

UK Anti-Doping uses intelligence to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques to tackle doping in sport.

We form an in-depth knowledge of anti-doping activities through the management of information from a wide range of sources.

We are here to support and protect those speaking out. If something feels wrong and someone is trying to stop you from saying it, contact UKAD. Take a look at our Whistleblower Policy for more information on how you could be protected.

Information is key

UKAD business functions include an Intelligence and Investigations Team, who adopt the principles of the National Intelligence Model (NIM).

NIM is a business model used by law enforcement agencies, and increasingly by other intelligence-focused partners, to ensure the effective and efficient collection, recording, analysis, dissemination and retention of information.

This enables us to prioritise issues in doping and allocate the resources to deal with them accordingly.

Information coming into UKAD is submitted to the NIM process and cross-referenced with existing data. It may be subject to further research and analysis, before being used internally or disseminated to relevant parties such as government agencies and National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs).

We provide detailed instructions and guidance for handling information shared with other organisations, and all data held complies with the Data Protection Act (2018).

Types of information gathered

In order to tackle the broader threats of supply and trafficking of prohibited substances, the Intelligence and Investigations Team gathers information such as:

  • the use or possession of prohibited substances by athletes or athlete support personnel

  • sales and purchasers of prohibited substances

  • transport routes identified for imported prohibited substances

  • distribution networks for prohibited substances

  • information regarding the commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV)

Working in partnership

The focus on information sharing, as a way to tackle doping, reflects an international move towards more intelligence-led methods of detection. 

To have an effective intelligence-led anti-doping programme, we have built relationships and work closely with: 

  • the sports community 

  • the general public 

  • pharmaceutical companies and health regulators such as The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Food Standards Agency (FSA) and General Medical Council 

  • law enforcement partners, such as the National Crime Agency (NCA), UK Border Force (UKBF), Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) and other police partners

  • National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) and WADA

The Intelligence and Investigations Team also sit on high-level strategic working groups which influence the anti-doping landscape such as: 

  • Government National Investigators Group (GNIG) 

  • Controlled Drugs National and Cross Border Group 

  • Anti-Doping Intelligence and Investigations Network Group (ADIIN) 

  • NPCC National Drugs Working Group 

  • Sports Human Intelligence Network (SHIN) Steering Committee 

A key focus of our intelligence work is to promote and engage in inter-agency information sharing about doping in sport. 

We also manage, in partnership with Crimestoppers, Protect Your Sport - a 24-hour confidential phone line for anyone to report information or suspicions about doping in sport. 

From time to time, and where necessary and proportionate to do so, we will ask third parties to assist us in finding out additional information relating to suspected doping in sport so that appropriate action can be taken to stop it. 

Picture of needle and liquid in two bottles
Disruption & Intervention Techniques

This is an alternative, but effective method of intervention that gives the team a range of alternative tactical options to prevent, deter, intervene and disrupt athletes and Athlete Support Personnel (ASP) from committing ADRVs. This methodology has been used to good effect, robustly dealing with those athletes or ASP who are suspected of committing an ADRV but where there is insufficient evidence to proceed, or it is not in the public interest to pursue a prosecution.

UKAD investigations

The 2021 World Anti-Doping Code states that every anti-doping organisation must have the resources to obtain, assess and handle anti-doping intelligence and information.

UKAD has the capacity and capability to deal with intelligence and actively conducts investigations, some of which are complex and detailed, into suspected doping violations. The team has the ability to conduct research and produce analytical profiles to add value to investigations as well as identify emerging threats and trends.

Our intelligence work supports us in developing effective testing and investigations strategies and informing other parts of the organisation in the fight against doping.