In March, the police appealed to the public to donate suitable dogs to be trained as metro K9 unit members.
Metro police spokesperson senior superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said the unit currently had nine dogs in total and once training was completed for the 18 dogs, police would issue another appeal for donations as more dogs were needed to combat crime in the city and also to be ready for next year’s elections.
Six of the 18 dogs being trained to be part of the K9 unit recently showed off their newly acquired skills to the Daily News at the Moses Mabhida People’s Park.
Acting captain Anthony Chappen, from the metro police K9 unit, has been training the dogs. “The training to follow will include obedience, tracking as well as the apprehension of criminal suspects. Prior to the course lasting four to five months, the dogs have to undergo a medical examination to assess whether they are fit to be in the unit,” he explained.
Sewpersad said some of the 18 dogs would also undergo explosives training.
“This will be the first time metro police train dogs for explosives and is in a bid to support the SAPS K9 unit which is already under-resourced. When we have dignitaries in the city, a sweep has to be done of the route they will take and venue they are expected to be at and we rely solely on the SAPS K9 unit for this.
“There’s a lot of political threats and as we approach the elections next year we need more dogs.”
He said that with the changing role of metro police these dogs would end up in some of the units that make up the newly formed Multi Operational Response Teams (Mort).
He explained it is made up of the K9 unit, Public Order Policing (POP), the Rapid Response Team as well as a Communications Unit.
“Mort responds to protests. They also clean up at protests where Durban Solid Waste is sometimes afraid to as protests have become more volatile,” said Sewpersad.
Since the beginning of the year, he said nearly 20 police vehicles were damaged during protests. “In the last couple of months, these protests have become more volatile and police the target in some cases as we tried to engage and disrupt them,” he said.