Cyprus

RAF Police Drug Detection Dog Put Through Its Paces In Cyprus

Forces News joined drug detection dog Molly as she searched an aircraft more than 147ft in length at RAF Akrotiri.

With a sense of smell up to 100,000 times more sensitive than a human, drug detection dogs are a valuable military asset.

They can be trained to sniff out even the tiniest traces of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and amphetamine.

Forces News has been given special access to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to see a Royal Air Force Police drug detection dog be put through its paces by conducting a search of an A400 aircraft.

Molly, a seven-year-old spaniel, is trained to search every part of an aircraft to check there are no drugs on board. 

Her handler, Corporal Jazz Dixon, from the RAF Police, Security Flight, Dog Section, RAF Akrotiri, said: "She is absolutely fantastic.

"You can work her for up to a couple of hours and she won’t stop, so you actually have to be careful how much you push her. Her nose is brilliant.

Watch: Find out more about Molly the spaniel.

"We commonly do routine searches, where we go to any section and carry out a sweep. 

"We can do intelligence-led sweeps, where we've gathered intelligence and know that there might be a presence of drugs, that might be a more thorough search," she added.

"Also, we can have possible visits of VIPs where we need to search sections."

During the exercise, Molly searched the A400 for two different quantities of planted cannabis – 10g and 1g – and hardest of all, a 'soak', which is a pad of paper that has been in the box with the drugs so only has the scent on it.

"When she actually locates the drugs you see a change in behaviour and she will sit," Cpl Dixon said.

Each time Molly successfully found an item, Cpl Dixon used a clicker which Molly associates with a reward, her tennis ball. 

Molly's size and agility makes her ideal for climbing and fully searching the aircraft.

As a smaller dog, Molly is agile and able to climb to ensure all of the aircraft is fully searched.

Through working closely with her handler, Molly signalled that the cannabis had been placed high up.

"She wanted to jump up on the sink but, bless her, wasn't able to sit down. So had to jump down to indicate," Cpl Dixon said.

After finding all three of the items planted, Molly's hard work was rewarded with some treats back at the dog section, where she shares a room with Saiid, a patrol dog