Fiji Corrections Service Acting Commissioner Salote Panapasa is urgently appealing for international support to strengthen the institution’s Dog Unit citing the limited capabilities of the current K9 assets.
She highlights that the two existing sniffer dogs at FCS can only detect soft drugs, highlighting a critical gap in addressing the escalating challenge of hard drug smuggling into correctional facilities.
Panapasa points out that the current infrastructure falls short of international standards and this impacts the effectiveness of the K9 unit in tackling the evolving threats within correctional facilities.
“There is an urgent need to upgrade our K9 facilities to allow breeding of puppies and to house the K9 dogs hygienically.”
Highlighting the unfamiliar terrain of dog handling for the FCS, Panapasa underlined the urgency of acquiring expert assistance.
She drew a parallel with the successful collaboration between the New Zealand government and the Fiji Police Force in K9 training and also highlighted the lack of qualified personnel within FCS.
Panapasa calls for collaboration with international organizations experienced in canine training and breeding programs and has expressed optimism that such assistance would lead to transformative changes in the K9 program.
She also outlined the broader benefits of expanding the K9 breed aligning it with current technology to effectively detect and prevent the influx of contraband items into correctional facilities.