Second batch of Detector Dog Unit Officers graduate
In a bid to prevent criminals using Fiji as a transit or destination point for illicit goods, a second batch of Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCS) Customs Officers and Fiji Police Officers have recently swelled the ranks of the Fiji Detector Dog Unit by four dog teams.
The handlers and team leaders comprising three Customs Officers and three Police Officers graduated from the Royal New Zealand Police College’s Dog Training Centre this month.
These officers will be based at the Fiji Detector Dog Unit in Suva and the office will be launched soon.
“The plan for the Detector Dog Unit in Suva has been in the pipeline for a long time,” FRCS Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Visvanath Das said.
“We will soon open the Suva Unit where the Detector Dog Unit teams will be available for a range of work from screening international passengers at Nausori Airport through to assisting Police and Customs activities away from the border,” Mr. Das said.
“The collaboration between the stakeholders has been going from strength to strength ever since the inception of this project. The combined results to date are pleasing and we look forward to increasing our capability against those wanting to use Fiji as a place to undertake criminal activity,” he said.
“As outlined in a statement by FRCS and Fiji Police few weeks ago, the Unit in Nadi has been instrumental in intercepting cases of drug smuggling amounting to $6.1million Fijian Dollars. We anticipate the same for Suva unit once its operational,” Mr. Das added.
Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho said the graduation and opening up of the Suva Unit augurs well with the institution’s crime prevention strategies.
“Stakeholders need to be proactive and put in place measures that will help prevent crime from taking place rather than being reactive and the statistics from the Nadi Unit’s work speak for themselves and it has had a major impact on the war on drugs”.
“Without a doubt the news of this development will be a major deterrent to those thinking of using our borders to smuggle illicit drugs and they should know that stakeholders will continue to look at all possible avenues to keep these substances from entering our borders”.
The detector dogs for New Zealand and Fiji were sourced from the Australian Border Force’s renowned detector dog breeding programme before being trained in New Zealand at the Police Dog Training Centre in Wellington.
The detector dogs are trained to detect drugs, cash and firearms.
Photo Caption: Graduate handlers from FRCS and Fiji Police with New Zealand Customs Services representatives in New Zealand.
Photo Courtesy: New Zealand Customs Services
For queries please contact the FRCS Public Relations Officer Edwina Chand on 9320838 or Fiji Police Media Liaison Officer Ana Naisoro on 9905999.