Photos by M. Sajjad
Published on March 12, 2021 at 22.59
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- Soon, UAE residents will be seeing a mobile unit of police dogs that would be playing a bigger role in the pandemic fight — sniffing out potential Covid cases in the city.
- Police dogs have been helping Covid frontliners: The police’s K9 unit has been on the job of detecting virus cases at the country’s airports and borders since last year. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Interior announced that the dogs will soon be deployed at major events to alert authorities to possible Covid-positive individuals. Covid detection will be done without direct contact between the dogs and suspected cases. Instead, scent samples are presented to the dog in specialised medical kits inside the vehicle.
- Training for K9 Unit started in April last year: Major Salah Khalifa Al Mazrouei, director of Dubai Police Security Inspection K9 Unit, said that under MoI’s directives, 38 dogs and 38 trainers from across the country underwent workshops and intensive sessions to detect Covid cases. Thirteen dog-trainer pairs were from Dubai.
- Sniffer dogs can detect Covid in a minute: Police dogs have a 92 per cent accuracy rate in detecting Covid cases, Maj Al Mazrouei explained, citing studies. “Covid testing by the K9 unit starts by taking a swab from a person’s armpit. Then the dog trainer would place the sample in one of the many boxes, which the dogs would sniff. Within one minute, a dog who smelled the sample would be able to indicate whether the person is potentially Covid-positive,” he told Khaleej Times.
- They are the police’s reliable partners in solving crime: Sniffer dogs have long proven that they are valuable assets of the police, from securing massive events to detecting drugs and explosives, Maj Al Mazrouei said. Dogs are also deployed as guards or in missions where they could help determine the cause of a fire. There are times when their excellent sense of smell has contributed to solving criminal cases. The Dubai Police’s K9 unit has 51 trainers and 69 dogs. According to the international standards, each dog can be used only by a single trainer.
- Dogs need three months of training to qualify for a mission: Different breeds of dogs are in the unit and all breeds are recognised globally as the best for the job. The force has Labradors, German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels, among others. Each trainer spends two to three months to help a dog qualify for a job, the officer added. “Within the last two years, the Dubai Police have been importing trained dogs that can be ready for field mission within two to three weeks.”
Soon, UAE residents will be seeing a mobile unit of police dogs that would be playing a bigger role in the pandemic fight — sniffing out potential Covid cases in the city.