Manchester Airport sniffer dogs are finding cheese and sausages but no Class A drugs
The airport has recently spent over £1m on the dogs
The competence of the sniffer dogs at Manchester Airport has recently come under question as they have failed to find under any Class A drugs in seven months.
The dogs at Manchester Airport have failed to successfully detect any Class A drugs in seven months of being in operation.
However, one particular dog that is trained to detect illegal animal products, has often found “small amounts of cheese or sausages” carried by holidaymakers, a report said. The airport, which is the third largest in the UK, has six detector dogs and new kennels, costing £1.25m.
Although heroin and cocaine were “very high priority” for the search team, none have been found by the dogs.
As a result, the report concluded that “Class A drugs detections were not at the level that might be expected”, and said Border Force should review “how particular flights were risk assessed” and where staff and dogs were deployed.
One of the dogs that was trained to detect smuggled animal products has been spotting these items accurately, yet the other dogs on the team have only uncovered items which pose minimal risk to UK public health.
“A senior manager agreed that there was a lack of innovation in the use of the dogs, and told us that a new management structure was being put into place to take a fresh look at their deployment,” the report said.
Over the period however, the dogs had helped in the seizure of more than 46,000 cigarettes, 60kg of tobacco, 181kg of illegal meat and £28,000 cash, the report said.
A Home Office spokesman said inspectors recognised staff at the airport were conducting “all required checks at passport control.
“However, we acknowledge that further improvements need to be made. We welcome the report’s findings and accept all the recommendations – many of which, including a new recruitment and training programme, are already being implemented,” the spokesman added.