The Dubai Police K9 Unit carried out 2,830 missions in 2021, including 879 special missions to secure the global event Expo 2020 Dubai before and after the grand opening.
The missions consisted of 1321 security checks, 542 COVID-19 screenings, 480 guard duties, 381 security patrols, 53 anti-drug operations, 30 lead tracking, 20 raids, and 11 fire detections, UAE national news agency WAM reported.
Major Salah Khalifa Al Mazrouei, Director of Dubai Police Security Inspection K9 Unit, confirmed that the unit operates with 63 professional trainers and 73 canines of six different breeds. These include German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, Malinois dogs, English Springers, Labrador Retrievers, and Cocker Spaniels.
“Missions and tasks are distributed among canines based on their specialties. German and Dutch Shepherds and Malinois dogs handle guarding duties, lead tracking and detection of all kinds as they are known for being more resilient. On the other hand, English Springer, Labrador Retriever, and Cocker Spaniel specialize in recovering hidden narcotics and explosives, uncovering dead bodies, searching for missing persons, and tracking possessions and flaming materials,” Major Al Mazrouei stated.
“A specialized committee has been formed to run tests to handle canine recruitments based on their instincts to undertake policing missions and handle the workload. Canines join the Dubai Police team at ten months or 18 months of age and serve the force for seven more years,” Major Al Mazrouei continued.
“During their years of service, K9s undergo medical check-ups and performance tests to determine their capabilities to conduct police work. If Dubai Police veterinarians or canines’ trainers provide reasons for necessary retirement, the dogs are placed for adoption under certain conditions. We get many applications from among the public who are dog lovers,” he elaborated.
K9 Missions Captain Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Head of the Security Missions Section, said that K9s are a vital aspect of policing operations, including search and rescue missions, lead tracking, and guarding.
“Each canine has his/her specialty based on its breed. There are ones that excel in tracking leads, others in searching for missing persons by their scent, and yet others in uncovering dead bodies and body parts despite the time of death or the depth of their burial,” Captain Al Suwaidi explained.
“Some canines are assigned for anti-narcotics missions to detect narcotics, psychotropic substances such as weeds, opium, marijuana, hallucinations drugs, amphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc. During the mission, K9s sniff out concealed drugs,” he continued.
“We dispatched canines to determine if a fire breakout is to be considered an arson case by sniffing out gasoline, diesel, or kerosene,” the Head of Security Missions Section added.
COVID-19 Sniffers Major Al Mazrouei also pointed out the Dubai Police K9 Unit’s efforts in combating COVID-19.
“K9 sniffer dogs have been stationed at airports across the country to help detect traces of the coronavirus from passenger sweat samples with 92 per cent accuracy,” Major Al Mazrouei added.
“We have trained 38 canines, including German Shepherds, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and Border Collies, to recognize the scent of COVID-19 using samples of sweat from people with confirmed infections, collected by holding a swab in an armpit for a few minutes. But there is no direct contact between the canines and the passengers,” he explained.
Captain Saud Sultan Al Suwaidi, Head of Technical Affairs and Training Department, attributed the success of the K9 Unit to lengthy training sessions that accumulated to 7,923 hours for both canines and their trainers over 2021.