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Smuggling: Meat

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meat detection sniffer dogs were in use at ports and airports in Great Britain on (a) 1 January and (b) 1 July in each year since 2002. (228519)

Detector dogs trained to identify products of animal origin (POAO) including meat were introduced by DEFRA in 2002, and were transferred to HMRC in April 2003. The number of POAO Detector dogs in use at ports and airports in Great Britain on 1 January and 1 July in each year since 2002 is set out as follows:

Number of dogs in use on 1January

Number of dogs in use on 1 July

2002

0

2

2003

2

2

2004

5

6

2005

10

10

2006

10

11

2007

11

11

2008

9

9

These dogs are employed on a mobile basis across Great Britain. The actual number available for deployment can differ according to the need to train new dogs and handlers, and to replace dogs through retirement and ill health.

We cannot disclose further information about the deployment of the dogs as this would provide information of value to those seeking to circumvent border controls, thereby prejudicing the prevention and detection of crime.