26 May 2022

New canine crime fighter joins the AFP

| Claire Fenwicke
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Black labrador

Detection dog Cuba has already been in the field for 12 months. Photo: AFP Media.

Canberra has gained another technology detection dog, freshly graduated from the city’s AFP training facility.

Pedro is one of nine new canines being deployed across the country to sniff out crime.

They use their noses to find hidden technology devices such as SIM cards, USBs and other memory storage items that could hold hundreds of thousands of images and documents.

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AFP Superintendent National Canine Operations Simon Henry said that although technology detection dogs were new for the organisation, they were an invaluable asset.

“In 2021 alone, our three fully trained tech dogs were deployed to 74 premises, supporting the seizure of 328 potential evidentiary items,” he said.

“These are items that have been hidden away and probably wouldn’t have been found if not for our dogs and their keen noses.”

Black labrador

Technology detection dog Ashton will assist AFP officers in Perth. Photo: AFP Media

Supt Henry said the dogs would be used to support a wide variety of investigations for the AFP and partner agencies, from child protection to drug importations and counter-terrorism.

“Their noses are incredibly sensitive to even the slightest scent. Our tech dogs have found USBs hidden in bedposts and other small places that may be overlooked by the human eye,” he said.

“The ability to locate these hidden technical devices that could hold crucial evidence needed to arrest an offender or remove a child from harm is an incredible asset to law enforcement.”

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The nine new canines – eight Labradors and one German Short Haired Pointer – started their training in late 2021 at Canberra’s new Technology Detection Dog training facility.

The dogs are fostered as puppies for about 12 months before they enter an AFP training course. Along with technology detection, other AFP canine courses include firearms, explosives, cash or drugs detection, or a combination of them.


Technology detection dog Alma will be stationed with AFP officers in Brisbane. Photo: AFP Media.

Pedro is the second such dog to be based in the ACT.

For the first time, AFP technology detection dogs will also be based in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

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