Sniffer dogs to stop phones in prisons

A NEW breed of sniffer dog will soon be unleashed in NSW prisons to stop trafficking in mobile phones among inmates.
Jedda, a Labrador, and Boe, a Border Collie, will be the first canines to hit the beat, working for the State Emergency Unit to detect the phones.

They will be used to search cells, prison wings, visiting areas, and also in targeted intelligence-based raids.

The dogs have been taught to pick up the scent of phone batteries, casings and sim-cards after a training course at the Windsor K9 unit.

Corrective Services minister John Robertson will announce the initiative today as an Australian first.

"This is an important boost to the Government's arsenal in the fight to keep mobile phones out of NSW jails," he said.

"A mobile phone in the hands of a prison inmate can be an escape threat or in the worst case scenario, a murder weapon."

Mr Robertson said as the devices became smaller with improved technology, they were easier to conceal.

"It is absolutely critical that we continue to look for new ways to thwart mobile phone smugglers in the prison system," he said, adding that if Jedda and Boe prove as good as they have in training, the government would look to recruit more canines for the task.

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