New Dogs Destined For Disrupting Drug Crime In The Pacific
Two constables - one from the North and one from the
South Island are
graduating at the Trentham Dog Training Centre tomorrow.
The Police detector dog handlers
along with handlers and dogs from Fiji
Police and Fiji Customs have completed their training and are ready to run
with the big dogs.
Experienced handler Senior
Constable Lyal Bayliss and Detector Dog Luther
heading back to Canterbury to start work, and it’s a first for Lyal as a
narcotics detector handler after 18 years of operating patrol dogs on general
duties, including the Armed Offender Squad.
In 2009 Lyal
received a Bronze Merit Award, with his dog Duke
apprehending an offender who was armed with a knife. In 2021 he was later
presented with a Commissioners Gold Merit Award for bravery with dog Brock
for apprehension of an offender with a firearm.
Luther was the last dog
handled by Senior Constable Bruce Lamb who died
natural causes in May of this year. Bruce had several dogs - notably Gage,
who lost his life when he was shot in the line of duty protecting Bruce in
Heading to Auckland is Senior Constable
Zoe Eginton who will graduate with
her first operational dog, four-year-old detector dog Villa.
Zoe, an officer
with 15 years in Wellington District has worked
frontline and investigative work before being promoted to sergeant.
She’s always held a dream of
becoming a Narcotics Detector Dog handler and
jumped at the opportunity when it became available.
Todd Southall, National Coordinator: Police Dogs says
Pacific Detector Dog programme, which is funded by Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, managed by New Zealand Police and supported by New Zealand
Customs Service has proven to be very successful.The programme focuses on
Transnational Organised Crime and regional security across the Pacific. These
new handlers are excited to graduate with high performing dogs and will
continue to support and be a part of the programme.”
been a demanding few weeks for all the handlers, especially
colleagues from the tropics, who won’t be used to the cold spring weather
we’ve been having in New Zealand,” he says.
Graduating from Fiji Police and
based in Suva are Acting Sergeant Niumaia
Lawanicina with Detector Dog Frosty; Constable Ilimeleki Leweiloma with
Detector Dog Herb and Constable Sailasa Kerekere with Detector Dog Hague.
Also graduating alongside his
Police colleagues is Senior Customs Officer
Roko Volau and Detector Dog Ike from Fiji Customs, Suva.
Zealand Customs Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations
Enforcement, Terry Brown, congratulated Fijian Senior Customs Officer (SCO)
Roko Volau and his fellow graduates.
“SCO Volau’s graduation, along with his
Fijian Police colleagues, and
together with the Tongan Police representative assisting the Pacific Detector
Dog Programme, continues an important relationship between Pacific border and
enforcement agencies and New Zealand Customs.
“Like New Zealand Police, Customs is proud
to be part of the Programme and
the valuable work it does supporting enforcement capability in Pacific
countries. Detector dog operations and deployment supports wider efforts to
combat the growing threat of transnational crime in the Pacific. This
programme will support our Pacific partners to disrupt drug smuggling closer
to the source, and reduce harm reaching New Zealand,” says Terry Brown.
Todd continues, “The tasks the trainees have
faced under the scrutiny of
the trainers while replicating their day-to-day variety of operational work
is not always easy. Weeks away from home and hard training will be put aside
when the handlers receive their graduation certificates tomorrow.
assisted by Sergeant Sione Punaivaha from Tonga Police, who
helped train the handlers on this course. Sione has been with the Tongan
Dog Section since 2014.
teams do an amazing job in helping keep our communities
ability to detect scent is approximately 5000 times that of humans. They
are remarkable at what they do in detecting cash firearms and narcotics.
They undertake a range of equally important prevention and community
engagement work alongside their everyday role,” he says.
These teams provide a critical
frontline response for Police and Customs in
regard to detection and prevention – we can’t do without them."