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A training session was organized for twelve explosive and drug detection dog handlers from 10th to 14th July 2017 at the Sniffer Dogs Academy in Accra.
To begin the session, 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, conducted an assessment of the six sniffer dogs and the group of twelve trainees made up of six military officers and six officers from NACOB selected for the training.
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. Next, following the request of the authorities of the Academy, the training officers tested a total of sixteen five month old puppies which are being bred for future training as sniffer dogs, nine of which belong to the Military and seven to the Immigration Service. The trainees were also taught specific recruitment tests to carry out in order to ensure an effective selection process. The 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 travelers at the international arrival hall of the airport.
The Ghanaian authorities, during the closing ceremony where the Ambassador of France, H.E. François Pujolas, the Executive Secretary of NACOB, Provost Marshall COMMEY, as well as representatives from both the Ministry of Interior and Parliament were in attendance, thanked the French government for this new cooperation in the area of security. 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..’
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, he said, will make the Sniffer Dog Academy the first of its kind in the sub-region, maintaining security for all. The French Ambassador 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.’
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 Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).