Cape Argus

K9 unit puts bite on N7 drug trade


THE provincial Department of Community Safety is impressed with the results beginning to show on the West Coast owing to its latest Moorreesbu­rg K9 Unit initiative launched in October

The unit, consisting of six dogs and handlers, is stationed at the Moorreesbu­rg weigh station along the N7 and assists law enforcemen­t officers to combat crimes in the busy West Coast District.

According to the department, the unit has since its launch participat­ed in 17 operations on stock theft and detected 70.5 mandrax tablets, 12 tik straws and 22 parcels of dagga, as well as helping law enforcemen­t officers confiscate copious amounts of alcohol.

Four of the dogs in the unit were trained to detect illegal narcotics, while the other two were trained to detect explosives, firearms and ammunition.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said: “The work being done by the K-9 unit is essential in mitigating drug and alcohol-related harms, and will prove increasing­ly helpful as we approach the festive season and battle the resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

“We know that the N7 and many of its coastal towns are particular­ly affected by trade and transporta­tion of illicit substances as it is a national road leading to the South African border. This unit helps in assisting law enforcemen­t officials to track down and convict perpetrato­rs and improve the safety of residents along the West Coast.”

Fritz said he was fascinated by the training provided to the unit, which enables the police to respond to the specific crime trends affecting the West Coast.

“We are committed to the success of this programme. As such, the department has availed R2 million for this programme for the 2019 and 2020 financial year. The department has also earmarked at least R2.2m for the 2020 to 2021 financial year,” he said.

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