Police dogs hard at work keeping Seychelles safe
Seychelles police dog (Seychelles police)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles police officers are stepping up their visibility on the streets of the Indian Ocean island country to deter crime with some special support from a group of well trained canine companions, trained to fight crime and keep the country safe – a pretty big responsibility for a dog, you might say.
But according to the Seychelles Police Dog Unit, they are well-equipped for the challenge, reporting that both the dogs and their handlers have successfully completed an assessment in January this year, followed by a two-month-long evaluation in disciplines such as drug and explosives detection.
The whole unit is working around a revamped system, which they say will help them respond more quickly, increase police visibility and make police dogs available to all units within the Seychelles police force. With an improved 24-hour a day, 7-days a week shift system and an additional dog unit vehicle at their disposal, the team is confident they will be top dogs when it comes to fighting crime.
The improvements at the dog unit are already yielding positive results in the fight against drugs and violent crime. Canine trackers recently assisted police in their search through thick bushes in Baie Lazare, southern district of the main Mahe island, for a man who had allegedly stolen items from a parked vehicle nearby. The suspect, who was found to be in possession of the controlled substances of cannabis and heroin, tried to flee the scene but was speedily apprehended. The man was formally charged for drug trafficking offences and was placed on remand.
In another hair-raising incident, a brave police dog called Rex was attacked with a knife after a tip-off that a wanted suspect in an unlawful wounding incident was in the La Gogue area. The dog unit was the first to arrive at the scene and advanced quickly towards a block of flats to apprehend the man.
According to the dog unit, the suspect jumped from the balcony of a first-floor flat in the building and started to run. When the dog handler gave chase, Rex brought the suspect to the ground, and the suspect tried to stab the police dog. Fortunately, Rex managed to bite his assailant’s hand before he was stabbed, allowing the suspect to be handcuffed, arrested and taken for medical assistance.
The dog unit says that all police dog handlers in Seychelles will be clearly identified by a dog badge displayed on their chests, and advises members of the public not to touch the highly-trained police dogs while they are on duty. Even when it looks like they are relaxing at their handler’s feet, police dogs are still very watchful and alert and may view an approaching stranger as a threat to his life or the life of his handler.
The dog unit says that the dogs’ performance and condition will be evaluated every three months to ensure that good standards are maintained within the unit.
“It is envisaged in the future, depending on their productivity over the next few months, that the unit will be allowed to upgrade and expand in order to have more police dogs and vehicles available 24/7 to increase proactive policing efforts and to be more effective in preventing crime,” said the statement.
In January, Seychelles police records showed a large drop in criminal activities in 2013. The total number of recorded crimes dropped by 29.27% in 2013 compared to 2012. The areas which have seen the most significant decreases are theft, arson, criminal damage, burglaries and house breaking.