KARACHI: The Sindh police have decided to reactivate a decade-old canine unit to train sniffer dogs to detect bombs, narcotics and tracking of criminals in different phases, it emerged on Saturday.
Official sources said that the provincial government had earmarked funds to not only expand this unit to other parts of the province but to establish a centre as well in the metropolis for breeding of dogs.
They said that the first-ever canine unit of the Sindh police was launched around 12 years ago with the stated aim to improve police’s focus on detection of explosives and tracking of criminals.
It was stated by the officials concerned at that time that the establishment of this unit might end police’s dependence on the paramilitary Rangers for sniffer dogs, which are employed to find explosives on important religious, social and political occasions.
A breeding centre will be established at Police Training Centre, Saeedabad, soon
However, officials familiar with this development said that the said unit has become dormant with the passage of time. They added that Sindh government had shown interest in this project with provision of funds and on directions of newly appointed Additional Inspector General-Special Branch Ghulam Nabi Memon, this unit had been “reactivated”.
Army, locals give 20 dogs
The police have received over 20 dogs from the army and local people.
They said that three to four training sessions of sniffer dogs had taken place and now they were being trained to detect bombs and narcotics.
“Police dogs’ training has been started to fight against terrorism and narcotics,” confirmed Addl IG Memon when contacted by Dawn. “They will be utilised for bomb detection and narcotics,” he added.
He said it was for the first time in the country that the police were training sniffer dogs to detect narcotics as previously they were trained for detection of explosive material only.
The training would likely be completed within next three months. Subsequently, this canine unit of the Sindh police would be expanded to other parts of the province for tracking of suspected criminals.
“The Sindh police planned to increase the number of trained sniffer dogs to fight terrorism, narcotics and tracking of criminals up to 200,” he said. “The police also planned to establish a breeding centre at Saeedabad police training centre this year where hopefully breeding of around 30 to 40 dogs would be done.”
The chief of Special Branch believed that the Bomb Disposal Unit had succeeded in detecting bombs on important occasions with the help of trained sniffer dogs and foiled designs of miscreants to spread terror and chaos in the provincial capital but now for the first time the dogs would be trained to detect narcotics as well.
In the third phase, the provincial police are also planning to train dogs for tracking of suspected criminals.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2021