It’s the New Zealand Police ‘paw blacks’ taking on their counterparts from across the Tasman when the Australasian Police Dog Championships get under way in Wellington today.
Fifteen dogs and handlers are taking part in the four-day event which is being hosted by New Zealand Police and will test patrol dog, narcotics detector and explosives detector teams.
New Zealand is represented by national patrol dog champion Senior Constable Mark Chapman and Mario from Tauranga and runner up Constable Elyse Lewis and Mist from Whangarei; narcotics detector dog champion Senior Constable Chris Harris and Floyd from Auckland and explosives detector dog team Senior Constable Hamish Todd and Ezak from Wellington.
Four teams from Victoria Police, three from New South Wales Police and two from both South Australia and the Australian Federal Police are taking part in the event which is split across three categories.
Inspector Todd Southall, National Coordinator: Police Dogs, says it’s the first time in 20 years that New Zealand Police has hosted the event with New Zealand Police defending the patrol dog title they retained in Melbourne two years ago.
“The championships test all teams across a range of skills and scenarios which they face in their operational work,” he says.
“This includes obedience, heelwork, tracking, building and article searches for patrol dogs with the detector dogs similarly tested in their disciplines.
“There is close cooperation between New Zealand Police dog section and our counterparts from across the Tasman, especially in our dog breeding and training development programmes.”
Representatives from Northern Territories Police, Queensland, and other New Zealand agencies will also be supporting the event as judges, along with representatives from the competing jurisdictions.
The event ends on Thursday night with awards.