INDEPENDENT NEWS

Avsec Boosts Dog Team Numbers

Published: Wed 22 Oct 2003 11:28 AM
Avsec Boosts Dog Team Numbers
Four new explosives detector dog teams will be operating at New Zealand's international airports next week, boosting the number of Aviation Security Service teams to 14 – the largest number for any organisation in the country. The Aviation Security Service (Avsec) will now have seven teams based in Auckland, four in Christchurch and two in Wellington. The four new teams graduate from the Police Dog Training School in Trentham tomorrow (Thursday, 23/10).
"The new teams raise our capability to protect domestic and international aviation, which includes not only passengers but also mail, freight and courier systems," says Peter Pilley, Avsec's officer in charge of the explosives detection unit.
"They are part of an ongoing commitment to ensure we meet or exceed international requirements for security throughout the airport environment."
Mr Pilley says Avsec continuously reviews its capability and will be deploying more units as New Zealand's commitment to a world-wide aviation security programme, which seeks to combat the risk of terrorist attack.
Although based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Avsec's dog teams are active in all of New Zealand's seven international airports. They are specially trained to seek out explosives, rather than drugs or other illegal substances.
"It's for this reason that we have a range of dog breeds – from spaniels to cattle dogs," Mr Pilley says. "The dogs need to be obsessive about their work, so their drive to find explosives is important, not their breed. The training enhances their special abilities."

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