Six past and present dogs from the Western Australian Corrective Services Drug Detection Unit have been honoured with the prestigious national Canine Service Medal today as part of the unit’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
The Australian Defence Force Trackers and War Dogs’ Association honour recognises the dogs’ exemplary service to WA prisons.
The Drug Detection Unit’s dogs are invaluable in the ongoing battle against illegal drugs and contraband in WA jails and under the State Government’s new drug policy have also been searching visitors in jail carparks.
In September, a new drug dog Ziggy and his handler on their first day on the job found methamphetamine and weapons in the car of a visitor to the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison.
The drug dogs also helped uncover more drugs and contraband during the recent whole-of-prison operation at Bunbury Regional Prison last month.
Of the six dogs recognised today, four (Echo, Kai, Spud and Xanthos) were present at this morning’s ceremony at Hakea Prison. Two retired dogs have been re-homed and could not attend.
The Canine Service Medal is provided by the Australian Defence Force-supported Trackers and War Dogs’ Association, a not-for profit organisation which, a few years ago, decided to include all serving dogs in its considerations for medals. Eligibility involves a minimum of five years’ service.
Today’s ceremony included welcoming two new specially trained Passive Alert Detection Dogs (PADD) into the unit – Labradors Angel and Quinlan – while Xanthos was retired from service.
Also attending today’s event was retired Drug Detection Unit Coordinator Gail Raven – one of the two founding members of the unit.
As stated by Corrective Services Minister Francis Logan:
“Through randomly targeted and intelligence-led searches of prison facilities and those who visit them, the WA Corrective Services Drug Detection Unit is making significant inroads in the ongoing battle against drugs and contraband entering prisons.
“The work the dogs in the do in the unit is integral to the new WA Prison Drugs Strategy, which was implemented by the McGowan Government after years of inaction by the previous Liberal National Government.
“We have seen some fantastic results not only in our prisons, but also in the visitor’s carparks, which I hope will remind people that we will never let up in the ongoing battle against drugs and contraband trying to enter WA jails.
“Our drug dogs, which are all Labradors, are bred by Border Force who are regarded as amongst the best breeders in the world. Their dogs are used in facilities around Australian and the world.
“Congratulations as well to Gail Raven who as a founding member of the unit in 1994 has paved the way for all who have followed.
“Thank you again to the unit for its incredible work over the past 25 years.”
- About 295 drug search activities are conducted using drug dogs per month (around 3,500 searches per year)
In 2018-19, there were 85 seizures of drugs which were kept out of WA prisons due to drug search activities conducted by the Drug Detection Unit
If anyone has information about drugs entering prisons they should contact Crime Stoppers WA on 1800 333 000.