Detector Dog Unit
18th May, 2017
The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority’s Detector Dog Unit based at the Nadi International Airport has been instrumental in intercepting thirteen cases of hard drugs in the past six months, amounting to more than $6.1 million Fijian Dollars.
Since the unit started in November 2016, apart from hard drugs it has also detected other narcotics like cannabis, steroids, Ephedrine (precursor) and liquid products used for producing explosives. The interception of these contrabands runs into thousands of dollars. The K9 unit also has the capacity to detect currencies that are smuggled at our borders and so far has helped stop thousands of dollars (currencies) from being smuggled into the countries.
“The K9 unit compliments the non-intrusive inspection (scanning) and physical checks carried out by customs officers. They are an extremely valuable asset in helping us to protect our borders. The highly trained dogs can detect narcotics, firearms, weapons, explosives and many other dangerous items and materials. They are trained to find illegal items hidden in containers, luggage, vehicles, packages, and on people,” Fiji Revenue and Customs Chief Executive Officer Mr. Visvanath Das said.
“The dogs selected for the K9 unit underwent training in the detection of specific types of items such as drugs, explosives and currencies before being commissioned into active duty”.
“Similarly, the K9 handlers were specially selected for their ability to work with and understand the behavior of dogs. They are able to get the maximum out of the dogs as well understand the dog and its needs. They have found drugs in the most unusual of places and are an effective deterrent against drug traffickers and terrorists,” Mr. Das added.
“Considering the large volume of movement at our borders, our detector dog’s capabilities will enable us to send a strong message that our borders will be impenetrable. The inclusion of the K9 unit will enhance the security of our border and that of neighboring countries as well”.
The K9 Unit comprises of five (5) sniffer dogs and the handlers were trained by experts from the New Zealand Customs. These dogs can detect smuggling of any illicit drugs concealed in passenger’s luggage, Cargo, Aircrafts, Vessels, Postal consignments.
The Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho said the return on investment in the training and upskilling of personnel is being felt.
“As stakeholders in the protection of our borders we are frequently exploring ways of improving our screening processes and the dividends are paying off”.
“When you consider the amount injected into the training of our personnel and their K9 officers and the result of their work in only six months, it certainly has been money well spent as the returns have been ten times as great”.
Brig-Gen Qiliho said the pursuit to make Fiji’s borders impenetrable is an ongoing campaign.
“Apart from the Detector Dog Unit capabilities we will be looking at other ways and means to strengthen our capabilities because it is imperative that we stay well ahead of the criminal elements who are always looking to beat the current processes in place”.
For queries please contact the FRCS Public Relations Officer Salvin Deo on 9296356 or Fiji Police Media Liaison Officer Ana Naisoro on 9905999.