The use of sniffer dogs at Manchester airport has been criticised, following a seven month period in which the six detector dogs haven’t found anything other than cheese and sausages.
Used to detect drugs, particularly Class A drugs, and other contraband which may be being smuggled into the country, the six detector dogs live in a new kennel, which cost £1.25million to build.
A review by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration assessed the border controls and found that there had been no major findings by the search team for 7 months. It was described as a “low return on investment.”
The search team consider heroin and cocaine to be the top priority, but no Class A drugs were found by the dogs between November of 2014 and June of 2015.
The Home Office said that improvements must be made to the checking system, but did add that some of the recommendations had already been implemented by the search team at Manchester Airport.
Other than Class A drugs, the dogs are used to detect anyone bringing animal products in from non-EU countries, as these could pose a health risk to the public. The dogs have been locating plenty of products that aren’t allowed through, but these mostly amounted to small amounts of cheese and sausage. It is up to the dogs to discover these, but up to the handlers to assess the situation and see what action needs to be taken.
The blame for the lack of discoveries has been put on the management structure at immigration control at the airport, which has now been replaced, and a more significant emphasis has been put on training the people working with the detector dogs.