As part of the government’s anti-drug trafficking efforts, the Ministry of Home Affairs has requested the Maldives Police Service (MPS) form a ‘K9 dog squad’.
Upon the ministry’s request, police will soon begin working on establishing the squad, a police official told today. According to the official, local police officers are to be trained for the squad.
Quoting the ministry, local news outlet CNM has reported that a total of fifteen officers would be trained for the purpose.
Police have earlier worked on bringing sniffer dogs into the country as counter-trafficking measure on several occasions. It was included in the organisation’s strategic action plan 2011 -2013, while in late 2012 Indian assistance was sought in bringing police sniffer dogs.
Dogs were also brought in from Sri Lanka for security operations during the 2011 SAARC Summit held in the Maldives . On that occasion the dogs were handled by Sri Lanka’s police elite special forces unit Special TaskForce (STF).
In October 2002 two sniffer dogs were brought to the Maldives from Sri Lanka, and were used at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport under the supervision of National Security Service – and later the Maldives National Defence Force.
In 2008, the chair of the parliamentary committee on narcotics, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that, to that day, no drugs were ever confiscated with the help of the two dogs. He said the committee’s investigations found that the dogs were in fact unable to recognize drugs.
Speaking to Minivan News today, an MNDF spokesperson confirmed that the two dogs did not remain in the country, though he was unaware of what had happened to them.
Under the unlawful imports act of 1975, dogs can only be brought into Maldives with a special permission from the Ministry of Defense and National Security.
Local interpretation of Islam is that dogs are impure animals and should not be touched or taken into one’s home. Scholars have declared that touching a dog even accidentally would require any Muslim to wash that part of the body seven times.