New Prison Dogs Keeping Our Prisons Safe

09 January 2019

The Victorian prison system’s newest recruits have hit the ground running – with a knack for sniffing out trouble.

Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll today visited the Metropolitan Remand Centre to meet Corrections Victoria’s newest canine teams, who form part of the highly skilled Security and Emergency Services Group.

The 11 dogs and their human handlers recently graduated from intensive training courses and have joined the frontline fight against contraband and bad behaviour in Victorian prisons to keep the community safe.

The graduates include four Labradors that have been trained as Passive Alert Detection dogs capable of identifying banned items and illegal drugs, and seven German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois that will serve as multi-purpose dogs, helping to ensure the security and good order of the system.

The Passive Alert Detection dogs and their handlers spent 12 weeks learning to detect narcotics and drug paraphernalia, and have been put to work searching cells, prisoners and visitors at facilities across the state.

The multi-purpose canine teams completed 18 weeks of training which included identifying narcotics, searches, and high-level obedience and agility skills.

The Passive Alert Detection dogs are selected from the Australian Border Force Dog Breeding Program, while the multi-purpose dogs are acquired from reputable breeders and other government agencies.

Their work is supported by a range of security functions provided by the Security and Emergency Services Group, including:

  • Targeted searches of prisoner cells, common areas, visitors and prisoner mail
  • High-security prisoner escorts and escorting prisoners interstate and overseas
  • Training Corrections Victoria’s officers in tactical operations and fire awareness.

The Security and Emergency Services Group conducted more than 98,000 searches within the Victorian prison system in 2017-18 – around a third of which were carried out with a canine.

The Security and Emergency Services Group has undergone a significant expansion thanks to investment from the Andrews Labor Government, with the canine unit doubling since 2015 to include 28 multi-purpose canine teams and 22 PAD teams.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Corrections Ben Carroll

“Our highly trained Security and Emergency Services Group officers are on the frontline everyday – keeping Victorians safe.”

“Our four-legged recruits have been specifically trained to sniff out narcotics and drug paraphernalia, and their skilled handlers know how to deploy and manage them for the best results.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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