AFP hosts inaugural Technology Detection Dog Symposium

In an Australian first, the AFP has delivered the inaugural national Technology Detection Dog Symposium aimed at developing the technology detection dog capability on a national scale.

The two-day event was attended by law enforcement agencies from across the country and hosted by the AFP’s National Canine Operations unit at its purpose-built training facility in Canberra.

Officers from the AFP’s Technology Detection Dog (TDD) program shared training insights, success stories from recent operations around the country and valuable lessons learnt in the formative stages of capability development.

Superintendent Simon Henry said the symposium gave canine professionals across the country the opportunity to work together to help develop the next generation of crime fighting canines.

“Tech detection dogs are an invaluable asset to law enforcement agencies and are essential in combatting crime in a modern era where critical evidence is often stored on hidden electronic devices,” Superintendent Henry said.

“These dogs are successful in improving operational outcomes, supporting AFP investigators and those from other agencies to identify potential items containing evidence at search warrants.”

“We are working hand-in-glove with our law enforcement partners to bolster this national capability, to stay one step ahead of criminals.”

The TDD program was established in 2019 and has successfully impacted frontline operations and assisted investigations into a range of crime types, including online child sexual exploitation.

Since the national rollout of technology detection dogs, the keen-nosed canines have located hundreds of potential evidentiary items that could otherwise have gone undetected.

While the dogs are utilised across a range of investigations, including counter terrorism, drug crime, and State and Territory Police operations, about 40 per cent are related to child protection.

Last year, under the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse, the AFP received $5.7 million in funding towards the technology detection dog capability, which has contributed to the training of eight new dogs and handlers. There are now two technology detection dogs in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

The event came to an end today, and included attendees from the Australian Border Force, ACT Corrective Services, Australian Defence Force, Corrective Services NSW, National Office for Child Safety, NSW Police Force, Northern Territory Police, Queensland Corrective Services, South Australia Police, Victoria Police and Western Australia Police.

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