The Canine Section is responsible for:
- apprehending violent offenders;
- explosive detection;
- detecting narcotics in houses, buildings, vehicles, vessels and aircraft;
- lecturing on the role of dogs in policing;
- locating weapons and stolen property;
- responding to antisocial behaviour, demonstrations and riots; and
- tracking offenders from crime scenes.
The Canine section also conducts joint training and operations with other government agencies such as the Australian Customs Service, Australian Federal Police, and Department of the Attorney General, Special Air Services and the Australian Defence Force.
Our Canine history
Canine Section was formed in 1993 with the initial intake of two police officers and two German shepherd dogs.
Training was conducted in Trentham, New Zealand, as this was the best available training facility. At the completion of training, the section had one general purpose dog and one narcotics detection dog.
Even in the early stages, it was found that the dogs were of great assistance to police on the streets and it quickly became apparent that an increase in staff was needed.
Since that time the section has steadily grown to 3 Sergeants and 4 training officers. There are also 22 general purpose dog teams including 3 in regional WA, 9 narcotic detector teams, 4 Passive Alert detection teams and 3 explosive detection dog teams.
Our police dogs are mainly German or Dutch Shepherds, Labradors and Springer Spaniels which have been found to be best suited to their individual policing roles.
We currently source all of our dogs from breeders located within Australia.
What training do police dogs get?
All training is based around play and toys, this encourages our dogs to keep searching until they find something. The dog’s natural hunting instinct is modified to suit specific requirements such as protection, tracking and building searches as well as narcotics, cash and explosives detection. Training is ongoing throughout the dog’s career. We simulate different situations that may arise during police work and expose the dogs to a variety of noises and environments using large crowds, vehicles, schools, public transport, and industrial areas.
Where are the dogs kept when not working?
Once they have finished work for the day the dogs return home with the handler to eat and for much needed rest. Having 24 hour contact with each other helps to establish a close bond between handler and dog. If the Handler is going away on holidays, the dog is housed in the kennel facilities at Maylands Police complex being looked after by other handlers and qualified kennel staff.
Do police dogs always remain with the same handler?
Where practicable we try to keep handler and dog together however depending on the dog’s age the dog might be re-trained with a new handler if the current handler leaves the section. When a dog retires then can remain with the handler as a family pet.
Why do we have passive detector dogs?
When a passive alert detection dog locates an odour they have been trained to find they alert the handler with a passive response (sitting or freezing).
For obvious reasons passive detector dogs are used to search for explosives and also to detect drugs on people. They are used in crowded areas such as train stations, festivals, and other large events.
How do I become a Police Dog Handler?
To become a dog handler you must have obtained the rank of first class Constable. You may then apply for a position on a pre-selection course.
No experience or outside qualifications are required. Applicants should possess the ability to work alone and at times unsupervised, have plenty of frontline policing experience and a high level of fitness.
Successful applicants must pass a series of tests to be placed on the reserve list.
Once a spot is available it will be filled from the reserve list.
Females are encouraged to apply.
Mounted and Canine Operations - about the unit
This unit was formed through the amalgamation of the Police Mounted Sections and the Police Canine section in 2016.
The unit provides operational services to local police and specialised units throughout the state.
We are based in Maylands and comprise of 57 officers and support staff, 43 police dogs and 20 police horses.