Fiji Patrol Dog capabilities have been further boosted with the graduation of three Fijian Police officers from the New Zealand Police Narcotics Detector Dog Handlers Course.
The officers are now certified Narcotics, Cash and a first for the Fiji Police K9 Unit, certified firearm detector Dog handlers.
Corporal Niumaia Lawanicina, Police Constable Ilimeleki Lèweiloma and Police Constable Sailasa Kerekere, had attended the one month NZ Police Narcotic Detector Dog Handlers course at the NZ Police Dog Training Centre in New Zealand from 25 September to 24 November 2023.
An outcome of the long standing relationship between the Fiji Police Force and New Zealand Police Dog Unit dating back to the 1970s, the training marks yet another significant achievement of the police to police cooperation between the two institutions.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Juki Fong Chew while welcoming the three officers, thanked them for making the Force proud.
“I know before you left, I had stressed that you were not only representing the Fiji Police but your families and nation and you have done everyone proud.”
“To our colleagues from the NZ Police, thank you for the continued assistance with the K9 unit as our officers are able to expand their capabilities.”
“This is the power of partnerships, as we cannot work in isolation; partnership is the way to go as we work together for the betterment of the people of Fiji and the Pacific.”
New Zealand Police Senior Advisor and Fiji Police Partnership Programme Team leader Mark Pakes who was accompanied by fellow Senior Advisor Sir Wally Kopae to hand over the three officers who were under the care of the New Zealand Police, said, “There are now greater expectations now that you have done the training to see what’s next, and how do you lift those standards to raise the bar for what the Fiji Dog team.”
As part of the partnership programme, NZ Police have also provided the K9s the officers had trained with.
The K9s will complete their mandatory quarantine period and will begin operations on Monday.