Corrections' drug detection teams Nick (handler) and Ben (dog) from Manawatu Prison and John (handler) and Aysa (dog) from Spring Hill Corrections Facility have come third and fourth in the annual National Police Dog and Detector Dog Championships after competing against the best of the best dog teams from Police, Customs and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Ben and Aysa competed in the narcotic category against four other teams from Police and Customs. These two teams have also featured on TVNZs Dog Squad (reruns of season three are currently screening on TV One on Sundays at 4pm).

The teams had to successfully find hidden drugs in settings designed to mimic the real world such as in a building, vehicles, in mail, on people and in the outdoors. There were time constraints placed on all searches which added to the pressure.

“We were up against tough competition, one point either way could’ve changed the results,” Nick said. “I’m really proud of Ben, he did a great job.”

Central region’s detection dog team supervisor Steve Shadbolt is pleased with Corrections’ success. “I was one of the judges of the competition; it was great to see Nick and John and the quality of their work. They really made Corrections proud and the other competing agencies were full of praise for them which was great to hear.”

“The standard of competition was really high,” John said. “It was quite nerve-wracking at the time but the contacts we made with other agencies were fantastic and the chance to join forces with these agencies in the future can only be positive.”

Corrections dogs are trained to recognise and seek out even the smallest quantities of various drugs and other contraband items to stop them entering our prisons. This gives a high level of assurance to the public in our commitment to keeping our prisons safe and free of contraband.

The dogs inspect prisoner property and cells as well as searching visitors, their vehicles, and property posted or couriered into New Zealand’s prisons. The Detection team run regular training sessions and conferences throughout the year to ensure the dogs and handlers are adequately trained and to up skill when necessary.

As they said, “this year we got third and fourth – next year we’ll take it out.”

Corrections' Drug Detection teams