Question: Police Dogs
Wednesday 23 June 2021, Question without notice
Ms ARMITAGE question to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE
COUNCIL, Ms HISCUTT
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
(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
(4) Does the Government have plans to obtain and train up general-purpose
police dogs for Tasmania. If not, why not?
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
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.