British High Commission hands over sniffer dogs to Mauritius
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2 specially trained dogs offered to Mauritian authorities as part of capacity building package
On Thursday 19 September, the British High Commission, together with the Mauritius Prison Service and Mauritius Police Force officially marked the handover of two trained drug and cellphone detection dogs, donated to the Police and Prison services by the Government of the United Kingdom. The ceremony took place at the Police Line Barracks in Port Louis at 11:00. They were also joined by representatives of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the European Union.
The dogs were donated by the United Kingdom following the special request of the Prime Minister’s Office, together with the Mauritius Prison Service and Mauritius Police Force, as part of the capacity building package agreed between Mauritius and the United Kingdom after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to combat piracy in the region. The specially trained sniffer dogs will help expand the capacity of the Police and Prisons in Mauritius to respond to the threat of illicit drug use and the prohibited use of cellphones in detention facilities.
In addition to providing the two dogs, the United Kingdom also provided intensive training for one member of the Mauritius Prison Service, Prison Officer Mr. Indrassen Murdamoothoo, and one member of the Mauritius Police Service, Police Constable Vikash Sunkar, in advanced dog handling skills. The training programme took place at the United Kingdom Directorate of Public Sector Prisons dog training facility outside of Manchester, from 1 July to 9 August 2013.
The two dogs are Springer Spaniels. “Josh”, the dog provided to the Mauritius Police Force, is trained specifically in drug detection. “Maddie”, the dog provided to the Mauritius Prison Service, is trained in both drug and cellphone detection. Both dogs bonded closely with their handlers during the training period and have adjusted well following their arrival to Mauritius, where their handlers will continue to oversee their training.
The dog training and provision of the two dogs was facilitated through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as part of its Maritime Crime Programme, which aims to provide support, expertise and assistance across all facets of the Mauritian justice system. The project was also part-funded by the European Union, which is a key donor and has collaborated closely with the UNODC in various capacity-building projects in Mauritius.