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Police and Detector Dog Teams compete for national honours

Police and Detector Dog Teams compete for national honours this week

Hard-working canines from agencies across the Government sector are battling for the title of top dog this week as they and their handlers compete at the New Zealand Police Patrol and Detector Dog Championships.

The dogs’ tracking skills, agility, obedience, searching, and detection capability are all being assessed in a series of demanding challenges at the Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham and elsewhere in Hutt Valley and Southern Wairarapa.

The championship is keenly contested with 23 teams competing from across Police, Corrections, Customs and Aviation Security, all vying for national honours over a gruelling three days.

Wellington-based Senior Constable Sue Burridge is competing for the first time with her dog Hades. Her supervisor Senior Sergeant Mark Davidson says he is thrilled she has qualified after just missing out in previous years.

“Sue is an outstanding operator and her skill as a frontline handler is testament to qualifying for the champs, which is no easy task.”

Also competing is Senior Constable Bill Birrell, with patrol dog Hawk. They were the runners up last year at the New Zealand championships, but won the Australasian Police Dog Championship Trials in Sydney. There, they took overall honours with the highest score for patrol dogs.

Also competing in the patrol dog section are dogs and handlers from Whakatane, Auckland, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, Wellington, Tasman and Christchurch.

Last year's top explosive detector dog team is returning to defend their title, Aviation Security Officer Harvey Jeffries and Shadow.

Christchurch’s Senior Constable Bruce Lamb is competing in the narcotic detector dog section with his dog Mylo. His previous dog Gage was the last police dog to die on duty when he was shot in 2010.

Six narcotic detector dogs and handlers are competing from New Zealand Police (Bay of Plenty and Christchurch), Customs (Auckland and Wellington), and Corrections (Northern and Central).

Five explosive detector dogs and handlers are competing from New Zealand Police (Wellington), Customs (Auckland) and Aviation Security (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch).

Each of the teams starts with a set of points and they’re put through a range of realistic but testing scenarios with points deducted for mistakes. The team that loses the least marks is the winner.

The prize-giving takes place at the Trentham Police Dog Training Centre, Dante Road, Trentham, at 3.30pm on Wednesday 21 May.

Media are welcome to attend Wednesday afternoon’s prize-giving. Please note that due to the nature of the competition it is not possible to arrange ‘in field’ photos/filming during the competition itself.


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