The Morrison Government is boosting Australia’s Technology Detection Dog program as part of its $59.9 million commitment to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to protect Australian children from sexual exploitation.
Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews today visited the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation in Brisbane to announce the $5.7 million boost to the AFP’s Technology Detection Dogs program.
“I’m in awe of the Detection Dogs that help our AFP officers uncover everything from USBs to illicit drugs, currency to explosives,” Minister Andrews said.
“Where a human nose has only enough cells to cover a postage stamp, dogs have so many cells in their noses that, if spread out, they would cover their entire body.
“The AFP’s ‘Tech Dogs’ are an Australian-first law enforcement capability, with the dogs trained to sniff out tiny electronic devices such as SIM cards and USBs, even if these have been hidden. A single USB can hold hundreds of thousands of child exploitation images, or documents of crucial evidence for a police investigation.
“The current team of three Tech Dogs has already located more than 120 devices to support investigations ranging from child protection to terrorism.
“Our significant expansion of the Tech Dogs program will increase the number of dogs to at least 12, which the AFP will train and deploy over the next three years.”
The dogs in the current team are all Labradors, which are known for their drive, high intelligence and endurance.
Tech Dogs are expected to spend about six years on the beat before enjoying a well-earned retirement with their handler or a volunteer family.
The AFP is the only police force in Australia with a trained team of Tech Dogs.
“The protection of children is a top priority so this Government will continue to take action to ensure the safety and security of the most vulnerable in our communities,” Minister Andrews said.
Other initiatives in the $59.9 million AFP program will be announced in due course, with all elements to provide further investment in new frontline operational activities to keep Australian children safe, and build on the $300.2 million investment in the AFP in the 2020-21 Budget.