Police constables attend training of dog handlers in NZ

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho with the contingent to the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham, Wellington. Picture: SUPPLIED

Seven Police officers including a Fiji Revenue and Customs Service officer flew out of the country this morning to the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham in Wellington.

The training opportunity was possible through the Fiji Police Partnership Program supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand High Commission, Suva, Fiji.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho reiterated the importance of the training not only for the existing partnership between Fiji and New Zealand, but on the impact it will have on operational outputs.

“Our K9 capabilities are one of the most sought after due to their operational effectiveness, and the Government in recognizing this has also invested close to $700,000 for the new K9 facility which is under construction,” Brig-Gen Qiliho said.

“The New Zealand Government and Police have been very supportive of our needs for more training, and with this being the biggest deployment yet; you must never forget the purpose in being selected for this specialized program.”

The training of a patrol dog is based on a six-stage development and qualification process that starts when the dogs are puppies and ends when they graduate at 18 months of age where according to the NZ Police Dog Section, the dogs live at home with their handlers.

The Fiji Police K9 Unit since the 1970s has worked with the New Zealand Police in enhancing the capabilities of the Unit through capacity building training of handlers and the supply of dogs.

The Commissioner of Police said while the NZ Police caters for the technical training of officers and supply of dogs, the Fiji Police through Government has committed to upgrading current facilities to cater for the new pups to be brought in from New Zealand in December.

The seven officers are Police constables Isikeli Bola, PC Maciu Temo, PC Maciu Sevutabua, PC Aminio Koto, PC Jone Wainiqolo, PC Valevatu Rabuku and PC Kameli Vaniqi.

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