Friday, 21 May 2021 08:20

AFP uses man's best friend to find USBs, SIMs at crime scenes Featured

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A Technology Detection Dog sniffing around a vaccum cleaner where an USB drive is hidden. A Technology Detection Dog sniffing around a vaccum cleaner where an USB drive is hidden. Courtesy AFP

The Australian Federal Police has turned to mans best friend to help detect devices like USB drives and SIM cards at crime scenes or when executing search warrants.

An AFP spokesperson told iTWire in response to queries that the Technology Detection Dogs were a first for law enforcement in the country.

The force has three such dogs at the moment, and aims to train another 12 who will be deployed over the next three years.

A video of a dog hunting for an USB drive is posted on the AFP's Facebook page.

"Since 2019 with just three technology detection dogs, the AFP has located more than 120 technology devices in support of investigations ranging from child protection investigations to counter-terrorism operations," the spokesperson said.

"The [Federal] Government is boosting funding by $35.4 million over four years for the AFP to combat the crime of child sexual abuse and exploitation. This includes $5.7 million to expand the team of Technology Detection Dogs."

The AFP said initial training of the dogs took at least three months of intensive work, followed by ongoing dedicated work between the trainer and a dog once they had formed a team.

"These dogs are the very top tier among detection dogs, requiring specific traits such as a high drive, a high level of intelligence, endurance and the ability to learn how to detect these devices in repetitive learning," the spokesperson said.

"The other critical element to this capability is, of course, the handler selection to pair with the dogs.

"This is a highly technical capability and requires an experienced handler to work with the dogs and use them effectively.

"The dogs can expect to work for around six years in the field, before enjoying a well-deserved retirement with their handler or a volunteer family."

The spokesperson said the three dogs who were at work right now were all Labradors, "a breed well suited to this type of work".


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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