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Customs Drug Dog Displays At Airport Open Day

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-NZ-CUSTOMS-SERVICE

CUSTOMS DRUG DOG DISPLAYS AT AIRPORT OPEN DAY

The New Zealand Customs Service says its hourly drug dog displays at Sunday's open day at the Wellington Air Terminal, will assist the public to understand Customs role in serving the community.

Accompanied by handlers Wayne Batty and Derek Murray, champion drug dog "Brock" and "Will" will demonstrate their talents in searching for illegal substances. Static displays will also provide the public with a great opportunity to view, discuss, and gain an understanding of, the wide variety of work that is carried out by Customs.

Customs Dog Section Team Leader Richard Roberts, says their deployment is flexible, and directly related to where the risk of drug importation exists. Customs can cover a wide area of risk situations whether they be in the mail, cargo, passengers baggage, ships, people or residence. The dogs refine the area where an inspection is made.

"They have proven to be highly successful in a variety of locations including Wellington's International Air Terminal, the Port of Wellington, the International Mail Centre, and they are an invaluable aid in house and ship searches. Their success also extends to confined spaces where scent may be concentrated. Heroin is being seized in volumes in Australia and so New Zealand has to be vigilant."

"Customs dogs are highly trained to meet this risk, and to prevent a variety of other drugs taking hold here. We have to adjust to changes in the types of drugs that are flavours of the month, and so providing something has an odour, then the dogs can be trained to detect that odour. Our methods too have been refined to meet these new risks,"

"A key focus for the New Zealand Customs Service is the protection of our community. Not only is society protected from risk to individual welfare, such as exposure to drugs, pornography, restricted weapons and firearms, but local industry, trade and the economy is also enhanced and protected."

"Children always respond to animals, and the displays are an excellent example of how these dogs can work with Customs Officers to deter offenders and maintain security at the border," Mr Roberts said.

There are 13 drug dogs in the New Zealand Customs Service. Nine are located in Auckland, where 3 of the handlers are women. Wellington and Christchurch both have two Labs. Their working life spans about seven years.

Customs drug dogs were introduced to New Zealand in 1973, and since this time they have been directly responsible for contributing to many drug interceptions.

ENDS....

MEDIA RELEASE FROM NEW ZEALAND CUSTOMS SERVICE

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