Australia's Federal Police (AFP) is getting more help from some very good boys with four paws, wagging tails, and the ability to sniff out tech equipment with their highly sensitive noses.
Not just dogs, technology detection dogs. The AFP have had three on the force since 2019 and yesterday said on Facebook they plan to add eight more over the next three years. Minster for home affairs Karen Andrews announced A$5.7m ($4.4m) funding to train and deploy the pooches.
The dogs can sniff out things like USB sticks or SIM cards, a task difficult for humans seeing as the devices are small and easily hidden.
The force said the dogs will help improve capabilities regarding collection of digital evidence and help to bust "child sex offenders, violent extremists and those involved in organised crime."
An accompanying video showed Georgia as she found a hidden phone in a vacuum cleaner.
This morning I announced a $5.7 million boost to the AFP's Technology Detection Dogs program. These amazing dogs can sniff out tiny electronic devices such as SIM cards and USBs, even if they've been hidden. pic.twitter.com/oR4nGWxCYS— Karen Andrews MP (@karenandrewsmp) May 18, 2021
A dog can sense odours in concentration of one part in a quadrillion, compared to human's one part in a billion. They've been used to find everything from drugs to COVID patients.
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Dogs are able to detect electronic parts, like lithium batteries, circuit boards, screens and casings as they leak small quantities of chemicals into the air. They've been used in this capacity for over a decade, for instance to find contraband in United States prisons.
There is no word yet on whether they are available to find lost keys and phones around your house, although someone has already taken to Twitter to ask.
While the AFP and the minister both said more dogs will be recruited, the AFP said 12 will be kennelled while the MP said eight, suggesting Australia needs fact-checking dogs in addition to chip-sniffing dogs. ®