AFP National Canine Operations Centre celebrates 10th Anniversary

AFP canine

This week, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the National Canine Operations Centre with an event highlighting the capabilities and achievements of the canines and their handlers.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the canine facility provided a training ground where the AFP canines could hone their natural abilities and work alongside their handlers.

“From finding cash secreted in the walls of a home, to loaded firearms in vehicles, and ensuring venues are safe for royal and heads of state visits – I am constantly impressed with the outcomes our detector dog and general purpose programs achieve,” Commissioner Colvin said.

In December 2007, the AFP expanded its canine capability by opening a state-of-the-art kennel facility and training centre in Canberra, ACT. The National Canine Operations Centre contains 62 kennels, a functioning mock aircraft baggage carrousel, simulation training house and storage warehouse, class rooms, agility zones, and underground search pits.        

Since opening, this centre has trained 119 canines in the differing fields of firearms and explosive detection, general purpose, and currency and drug detection.

Once arriving at the facility, the canines commence an intensive 13-week training program with a handler. The canine and handler are assessed throughout the program to ensure they can work in a variety of different conditions and environments. If successful, the canines are deployed across Australia to play key roles in aviation security and operational activities.

As part of the 10th Anniversary celebration, the first additions to the AFP Canine Wall of Excellence were unveiled.

  • Leading Senior Constable Simon Aldridge and his Drug Detection Dog Hayley were recognised for both winning the Australia and New Zealand Police Dog Trials ‘Narcotic Detection Team’ last year and the many successes they have achieved during their years as a detection team.
  • As the longest serving Currency and Drug Detection Dog, Atlas was also honoured today for his nine years of service where he has contributed to the detection of more than $5.5 million in currency and illicit drugs.

AFP Commissioner Colvin said the canine capability has adapted and changed throughout the years to suit an ever-evolving environment.

“We recently launched our home-made explosive detection course to reflect emerging changes in the criminal environment with future capability into Technology Detection Dogs currently being considered and developed”, Commissioner Colvin said.

“The canine capability has grown and achieved outstanding results since the opening of this centre and I look forward to new developments in this field.”

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