Media Release: AFP apologises for leaving a canine training device in a suitcase at Sydney Airport

Release Date: Thursday, September 11 2014, 02:02 PM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has apologised for leaving a training device in a suitcase at Sydney Airport after a canine training exercise on 14 August 2014. 

The training device contained approximately 230g of a plastic explosive which had been hidden in an unclaimed suitcase during a routine canine exercise.  The device was not live.

It was discovered on Tuesday (9 September) afternoon when a woman travelling through Sydney Airport was offered a replacement suitcase after her own bag was damaged during her flight. 

After discovering the device, the woman immediately took it to the Cessnock Police Station, where officers temporarily evacuated the building as a safety precaution.

AFP Sydney Airport Commander Wayne Buchhorn has apologised to the travelling public and all those involved.

“The AFP takes this error seriously and the canine instructor who inadvertently left this device behind has been identified and will be the subject of a formal Professional Standards Investigation,” Commander Buchhorn said.

“Although the travelling public was not in danger at any time, we regularly review our processes in this area, and we will do again in the light of this incident.

“This type of training is essential for our canine teams, allowing the dogs to experience potential threats in a real environment.

“On behalf of the AFP, I would like to thank the woman, her family and New South Wales Police, especially officers at Cessnock Police Station, for their assistance in this matter.”

AFP canines are trained to detect currency, drug and explosive odours. They play an integral role in aviation security and support broader AFP investigations, helping to keep the Australian public safe.

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