Question: Police Dogs

Wednesday 23 June 2021, Question without notice


Ms ARMITAGE question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE

COUNCIL, Ms HISCUTT


[2.42 p.m.]


I am of the understanding that Tasmania remains the only Australian state or territory

without any general-purpose police dogs and uses only six Labradors - four for the purpose of

drug detection, one for the purpose of firearms detection and one for the purpose of explosive

detection. Will the Leader please advise:


(1) Why Tasmania is lagging behind the rest of the country, which uses a

broad range of general-purpose dogs and breeds such as Rottweilers for

siege events?


(2) Does the Government have any plans to broaden the range of police dog

breeds and purposes?


(3) Does Tasmania Police currently possess the resources and capacity to

obtain and adequately train up general-purpose police dogs? If not, why

not?


(4) Does the Government have plans to obtain and train up general-purpose

police dogs for Tasmania. If not, why not?


ANSWER


Mr President, I thank the member for Launceston for her question. I am advised that

Tasmania Police has six detector dogs all of which are Labrador breed - four for the purpose

of drug detection and two trained to detect both explosives and firearms (including firearm

parts and ammunition).


Tasmania Police is currently planning for a seventh dog and will undertake consultation

with relevant stakeholders as to what type of dog will be trained. The dog will be provided by

30 June 2022.


I am further advised that should Tasmania Police have a need to utilise a dog for another

specialist area (for example, cadaver, cash detection, tracking or take-down), Tasmania Police

has prompt access to dogs from other jurisdictions. Should these be required they are quickly

available and will be transported accordingly.


Tasmania Police considers the available options in respect to particular dog breeds and

uses of the animals. As previously stated, Tasmania Police currently operate with six Labrador

dogs.


Tasmania Police maintains strong cooperative relationships with many interstate and

national agencies to support the acquisition and training of police dogs. For example, detector

dogs are frequently acquired through the Australian Border Force breeding program.


For training support, South Australia Police are often called upon to assist, but there are other

agencies, including the New Zealand Police, who can assist and have generously offered such assistance. The 2018 Capability Review conducted by Tasmania Police did not identify the

need for general-purpose dogs. However, Tasmania Police will continue to monitor the need

for such capability into the future.

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