The France Embassy in Accra has organised a training session for 12 explosive and drug detection dog handlers from the Sniffer Dogs Academy in Accra.
A statement issued by the French Embassy and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the session, begun with the two French officers from the Dog Training Center in Cannes Ecluse in France, bomb detection expert Brigadier Christophe Bihoreau and drug detection expert Brigadier Stéphan Filipic, conducting an assessment of the six sniffer dogs and the group of 12 trainees made up of six military officers and six officers from Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) who were selected for the training.
It noted that as the assessment revealed a poor level of motivation on the part of the sniffer dogs, the experts decided to increase the level of interaction between the canines and their handlers by engaging them in training exercises on the field.
It said next, following the request of the Authorities of the Academy, the training officers tested a total of 65 month old puppies, which were being bred for future training as sniffer dogs, nine of which belong to the Military and seven to the Immigration Service.
It said the trainees were also taught specific recruitment tests to carry out in order to ensure an effective selection process.
The statement said practical aspect of the training was conducted at the Kotoka International Airport where the handlers and their dogs demonstrated their newly acquired skills on the luggage of travellers at the international arrival hall of the airport.
It said the closing ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of France to Ghana, Mr François Pujolas; the Executive Secretary of NACOB, Provost Marshall Commey; and representatives from both the Ministry of the Interior and Parliament.
The Ambassador of France emphasized on “the importance of security and stability in Ghana and the sub-region in order to ensure progress in economic development”.
He stressed the need to develop initiatives like this one to better train security agencies officers in Ghana. Mr Pojulas declared that “the regional position of this academy will serve to improve Ghana’s integration in West Africa.
“This is a new and concrete step towards a more integrated approach in the common fight of concerned countries against criminal activities,” he added.
The Head of the Academy requested that this cooperation exercise be continued next year in order to establish the Academy as a sniffer dog training centre of excellence, to train not only
handlers in Ghana but also those from neighbouring countries. This, Provost Marshall Commey said, would make the Sniffer Dog Academy the first of its kind in the sub-region, maintaining security for all.
The Sniffer Dog Academy, which is managed by the Ghanaian Military, has a total of 35 dogs made up of attack dogs and bomb detection dogs that are handled by military officers and drug detection dogs that are handled by the NACOB.