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Criminals warned to beware of the dogs

Hon Anne Tolley

Minister of Police

Hon Maurice Williamson

Minister of Customs

15 August 2013       Media Statement

Criminals warned to beware of the dogs

Police Minister Anne Tolley and Customs Minister Maurice Williamson say that drug detector dogs are now being trained to sniff out large amounts of currency, to target the proceeds of crime and ensure that criminals are hit hard in the pocket.

A recent trial involving two detector dogs from Police and Customs resulted in the seizure of over $350,000 in undeclared or concealed cash at Auckland International Airport, and while carrying out search warrants.

The trial was so successful that Police are now training a further seven “cash dogs” and Customs another five, for operational use around the country.

The dual-trained dogs will be able to detect cash amounts of over $10,000, targeted at NZ, AUS and US currencies, as well as narcotics.

“These dogs and their handlers are incredibly impressive and will play an important part in our focus on bringing crime rates down even further,” says Mrs Tolley.

“They will send a powerful message to criminals that the cash profits from their crimes will be found and seized, along with any assets such as cars, boats and houses.

“Crime will not pay, and these dogs will make sure of it.”

Mr Williamson says having the dual-trained detector dogs will increase Customs effectiveness and efficiency at the border.

“The trial, during which more than $350,000 in cash was seized, has shown these dogs get results.  By training more dogs things are only going to get worse for criminals,” Mr Williamson says.

Following training, the Customs dogs will be operational in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.   The Police dogs will be based in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Eastern, Wellington, Canterbury and Southern districts.

About $29.5 million in cash and assets have been forfeited by convicted criminals since the National-led Government introduced the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act in December 2009.  Police currently hold restraining orders worth over $130 million.  Upon conviction, the assets are forfeited to the Crown.

ENDS

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