The Detector Dog Service (DDS) program of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was established in 1978 to assist front-line inspections. The first detector dogs were trained to find drugs and firearms, and the program was designed to reduce the time border services officers (BSOs) spent searching for incoming contraband. In 2003, a currency detector dog pilot project was launched to correspond with the implementation of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). In 2004, food, plant and animal (FPA) detector dog teams were added to the program through their transfer to the newly created CBSA from the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CBSA currently has 69 detector dog teams that work in marine, air, postal and land ports in both commercial and traveller streams across the country. They are trained to detect either drugs and firearms, currency or food, plant and animal products. The DDS program's functional authority is the Enforcement Branch's Borders Enforcement Division, with the Detector Dog Learning Services (DDLS) in the Human Resources (HR) Branch providing training, annual technical evaluation and support for the detector dog teams in the field. The Operations Branch supports the DDS program on national policies and procedures that will affect the delivery and integrity of the program.
The CBSA's Evaluation Division conducted this evaluation, which was identified as a priority in the CBSA Risk-based Multi-year Agency Evaluation Plan, 2005-2008. Senior management in the Agency was interested in an evaluation of this program, especially since the DDS program was last evaluated in 1993.
The four key evaluation issues examined were:
The plan for this evaluation was finalized in April 2006 and the research was conducted between April and September 2006. The following methodologies were used:
The evaluation found that the DDS program continues to be a relevant CBSA program and is fully aligned with the Government of Canada and CBSA's mandates. Detector dog teams were involved in one of every five CBSA drug, firearm, currency and FPA seizures in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. In 2005-2006, detector dog teams were involved in the seizure of $67.7 million worth of drugs in 160 separate incidents. FPA teams, on the other hand, screened over a million passengers and crew members at various airports last year and seized around 12,000 animal and 12,000 plant products. The value of currency seizures from currency detector dog teams has ranged from $6.4 million to $0.5 million a year since these teams were added to the program. Detector dogs are a powerful tool against the entry of prohibited, controlled or regulated goods and undeclared currency, and an effective complement to the various detection technologies and officer enforcement training that CBSA is using in its efforts to combat border criminality. Detector dogs are one of very few tools that prevent the entry of some food, plant and animal products into Canada.
The DDS program cuts across several CBSA branches (mainly Enforcement, Human Resources and Operations, including all regions), with staff that are passionate about their work. There is no clearly defined management framework guiding the roles and responsibilities of those delivering the program in the DDLS, Enforcement Branch, Operations Branch and the regions, and this has caused some degree of confusion and uncertainty: DDLS providing functional guidance directly to the handlers, bypassing the Enforcement Branch; regional DDS contacts involving themselves to different extents, depending on the demands of their other tasks; superintendents believing that an annual technical evaluation of detector dog teams replaces a performance agreement and assessment; and handlers scheduling their own days are examples of boundaries being tested, overstepped or avoided.
Recommendation 1: Fully develop, implement and communicate a management framework for the program to all delivery partners for better program delivery and to foster a better understanding of its objectives, challenges and opportunities.
The Enforcement Branch has developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the FPA detector teams and recently produced new training materials. The first CBSA FPA detector dog teams graduated from DDLS in November 2006. Operationally, the FPA teams are not yet fully integrated. The differences between them and the other detector dog teams are numerous: they have different superintendents, different breeds of dogs, use commercial as opposed to home kennels, work only at airports, detect substances that are, for most part, not subject to criminal prosecution, are allowed to spend 20 percent of their time on demonstrations compared to 10 percent for the other teams, etc. These differences have created communication barriers among handlers and between FPA handlers and BSOs, inconsistent detector dog team management approaches and detection opportunities lost.
Recommendation 2: Quickly complete the integration of FPA detector dog teams into the DDS program by placing FPA detector dog teams, as far as possible, under the same superintendent as other detector dog teams and developing an awareness package for wide CBSA distribution on the program's benefits, contribution and importance.
There is currently no overall risk framework to determine the placement of the detector dog teams. Although the teams are, for the most part, in Canada's largest and highest-risk ports, there is no framework that would indicate that CBSA has sufficient or strategically located teams. While the value of detector dog team seizures has remained constant over the last few years, more seizures could possibly be added with a different deployment strategy and more detector dog teams.
Recommendation 3: Implement a comprehensive and robust annual risk assessment process to ensure maximum coverage of detector dog teams at high-risk ports, including an assessment of national needs for additional teams.
Handlers provide a substantial amount of information on how they spend their time and what they have searched and seized every month. However, they have not been provided with a clear definition of terms and guidelines for filling in forms. The data issue is compounded by the arrival of the FPA teams who are using CFIA forms to report seizures and the fact that important pieces of the handlers' information (e.g., value, mode, locations) are not recorded in the Enforcement Branch's database. This has led to inconsistent and, in some cases, incomparable statistical information, preventing meaningful analysis.
Recommendation 4: Enhance the monitoring, analysis and reporting on the performance of the program by integrating the DDS program's databases to facilitate historical reporting and analysis and eliminate inconsistencies. Consider giving handlers a handheld electronic device to record their activities, results and observations. This could reduce keying errors, allow for just-in-time performance information and timely information on new smuggling trends or odour-masking methods.
The Evaluation Division of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) conducted this evaluation of the Detector Dog Service (DDS) program, which was identified as a priority in the CBSA Risk-based Multi-year Agency Evaluation Plan, 2005-2008. Agency senior management was interested in evaluating this program to enhance their decision making and to revisit the performance of the program since the last evaluation in 1993.
The CBSA's DDS program plays an important role in the detection of prohibited, controlled and regulated goods and undeclared currency and in reducing their entry into Canada. In addition, the DDS program assists the CBSA in fulfilling its border-protection mandate by assisting front-line inspections and reducing the time border services officers (BSOs) spend in labour-intensive activities. Detector dog teams also assist other law enforcement agencies with their searches and conduct awareness seminars and demonstrations for the public.
The CBSA's DDS program has been in operation since 1978. At that time, Canada Customs responded to the identified need of providing the field personnel and line operations with a more effective method of detecting and interdicting contraband. Detector dogs were seen as a possible tool and a pilot project was initiated in the Windsor District.[ 1 ] Three experienced customs inspectors were selected in this region and matched with dogs specifically trained to detect narcotics and firearms. After three years of encouraging results, the project was expanded to include the Hamilton, Quebec and Pacific regions.
To facilitate and enhance the training of handlers and dogs, regional on-site training was discontinued in 1984 and a national training program for the DDS program was established at the CBSA Learning Centre in Rigaud, Quebec. When the detector dog program first started, dogs were trained to indicate actively by scratching, digging, biting and barking whenever they smelled drugs and/or firearms. This changed in the 1990s when the dogs began to be trained for passive indication (e.g., by sitting). Currently, only one "active" dog is in service with the CBSA.
The program's reach has extended in recent years, with dogs being used to detect items other than drugs and firearms. In 2003, a currency detector dog pilot project was launched to help CBSA officers with their authorities under Part 2 of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA). The pilot involved two detector dog teams trained to detect currency in the Pacific and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) regions.[ 2 ] Another two teams were added later in Niagara Falls (2004) and in Windsor (2005). The currency detector dog teams have now become part of the DDS program. Since January 2005, the DDS program has included some 19 food, plant and animal (FPA) detector dog teams from the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). FPA detector dogs are trained to detect beef, pork, chicken, apples, plums, various plant materials and soil.
The DDS program's functional lead in Headquarters (HQ) is the Enforcement Branch (Enforcement Programs Directorate). HQ provides overall guidance to the program by developing key strategic direction based on consultations with delivery partners. Among internal delivery partners, Human Resources (HR) Branch (Detector Dog Learning Service (DDLS) in the Training and Learning Directorate) plays a major role, providing training and technical evaluation of detector dog teams. Other branches involved include the Innovation, Science and Technology Branch (Laboratory and Scientific Services), which provides training products to handlers, Admissibility Branch (Partnership Division), which integrates FPA policy and guidelines, and the Strategy and Coordination Branch (Consultations and Outreach Division), which develops promotional materials. The Operations Branch is the link to the regions where the detector dog teams work. Regional program contacts were put in place in 2005-2006 to provide a single-window communications link between the Enforcement Branch and the regional management teams, and to support the regions on DDS initiatives. The program's external domestic stakeholders are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Health Canada and the Bank of Canada, which supply firearms, drug kits and currency training aids for the program.
CBSA currently has 69 detector dog teams, 56 of which are in service.[ 3 ] Composed of a detector dog and a handler, the teams are strategically located across Canada, serving both traveller and commercial operations. There are four currency, 19 FPA and 46 drugs/firearm (D/F) detector dog teams. The breed of choice for currency and drugs/firearm dogs is the Labrador Retriever while Beagles are used for FPA products.
Overall, $5.933 million is allocated to the DDS program.[ 4 ] Three-quarters of the overall budget covers salary (including overtime) for 69 handlers, four Enforcement Branch DDS program staff and nine DDLS staff.
The DDS program is delivered through the following key activities.
The detector dog teams are located in key ports of entry to search travellers, goods and conveyances to ensure that prohibited, controlled or regulated goods and undeclared currency do not enter the country. The detector dogs are used in both the primary and secondary inspection areas to search for illicit items. The location of the teams must be determined on the basis of risk, experience and intelligence. The D/F and currency detector dog teams are required to spend a minimum of 70 percent of their time on the detection of contraband, while FPA detector dog teams are required to spend 80 percent of their time on detection work.
CBSA detector dog teams also assist other law enforcement agencies in executing search warrants for drugs, firearms or currency. This activity should take no more than a maximum of 20 percent of the D/F and currency detector dog teams’ operational time.
The training of handlers and dogs is provided by the DDLS. It has five trainers who, after the initial training of a team, also provide ongoing advice to handlers on various issues that might affect the detector dog teams’ technical performance. In addition, the DDLS is responsible for the teams’ annual technical evaluation, which was put in place to measure and monitor the performance of the teams as well as to certify teams based on established criteria. Any performance issues identified through the annual process are to be discussed with regional management, the Enforcement Branch program team and the handlers themselves, and a course of action recommended.
To increase the public’s awareness of the CBSA’s innovative enforcement approaches, detector dog teams conduct demonstrations in schools, service clubs, community centres and at public events. In addition to demonstrating how they work, handlers also provide general information on the dangers of illicit drugs, firearms or agricultural products and on the reporting requirements for currency importation/exportation, depending on their dog’s training. They may also show videos and distribute promotional materials to event participants. The awareness seminars and demonstrations should take only up to a maximum of 10 percent of the D/F and currency detector dog teams’ operational time and up to 20 percent of the FPA teams’ time.
The draft Results-based Management Accountability Framework (RMAF) for the DDS program identified the following expected program results.
The purpose of this evaluation study was to:
The Evaluation Division completed the evaluation plan in March 2006. Data was collected between April and August 2006. The methodologies used to address the evaluation issues and questions are presented below.
To obtain a solid understanding of the DDS program, the following documents, statistics and databases were reviewed and analyzed:
The CBSA Counsellor at the Mission of Canada to the European Union contacted other customs organizations on behalf of the evaluation team and helped gather detector dog related information. Documents on the design, delivery and performance of similar programs in other countries were reviewed for comparison purposes. These included the Canine Enforcement Program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as well as programs operating in Australia, Germany, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The evaluation team conducted Internet searches and contacted these border administrations for information on their programs.
Interviews were conducted with key stakeholders to obtain clarification on program design and management, and solicit views and explanations of data and results obtained from other methodologies. More than 40 in-depth interviews were conducted with:
The evaluation team visited four regions (Atlantic, Quebec, GTA and Pacific) as well as the DDLS in Rigaud, QC. The purpose of these visits was to improve understanding of how the DDS program operates and what challenges and opportunities it presents. During these visits, interviews were also conducted with handlers, superintendents, chiefs and directors.
A handler survey was conducted to identify the aspects of the program that are working well and the areas that could be improved. E-mails were sent to the handlers, soliciting their cooperation to complete an attached electronic survey. The questionnaire was available for completion between May 17 and June 7, 2006. The high response rate of 92 percent guaranteed a good representation of handlers by region, mode and by type of detector dog teams.
A Memorandum of Understanding, clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the Learning Services Directorate (HR Branch) and Enforcement Programs Directorate (Enforcement Branch) concerning the training of detector dog teams is in place.
According to the MOU, the primary role of Enforcement Branch is to provide functional guidance and direction on operational priorities, and to assist in the determination of the proper deployment of detector dog teams. In addition, the Enforcement Branch is responsible for identifying the competencies required for a handler and the standards for detector dog teams. Their role is to coordinate and schedule annual evaluations and let the regions know the associated training costs to ensure that regional funding commitments are in place. The DDLS’ primary role is to select and pre‑train dogs, train (re-train) and evaluate dogs and handlers, and to follow up with handlers who are having technical difficulties. Furthermore, the MOU states that Enforcement Branch covers all expenses incurred by DDLS in delivering the basic training, replacement and refresher courses and technical annual evaluation of detector dog teams in the field.[ 5 ]
Other than the MOU between the Enforcement Branch and HR, which focuses on training only, there is no complete management framework guiding the organizations that deliver the program. Such a management framework would include all the delivery partners and define their respective roles and responsibilities. Similarly, the process would allow the parties to think more strategically and improve their ability to set common priorities. The absence of a management framework has created confusion leading to handlers going directly to DDLS for functional matters, cases of loose or non-existent reporting relationships between handlers and superintendents, and DDLS and Enforcement Branch being criticized by each other for overstepping boundaries. Since those delivering the program have strong opinions about the direction it should take, a management framework that is implemented and communicated to all becomes important. In addition, a management framework would allow for better monitoring and reporting of resource use.
Over the last few years, DDLS has exerted greater influence on the program. For the last two years, Enforcement Branch has reinforced its interest in the program through new management. A number of its new approaches and questions about how the program is run created tensions, not only between these two organizations but also between handlers and the Enforcement Branch.[ 6 ]
Underlying these tensions is a passion for the program. DDLS staffs say that they are not sufficiently consulted or that their views are not taken into consideration when changes are made to the program. Those interviewed for this evaluation said their credibility was being attacked, resulting in a diminished sense of ownership. At the same time, in examining some of the detector dog team technical annual evaluation reports, DDLS also takes liberties by giving functional advice and operational recommendations that are outside their mandate. For example, they include recommendations to superintendents of the detector dog teams pertaining to changing operational procedures. Based on the program’s SOPs, this is the responsibility of the Enforcement Branch. Enforcement Branch’s justified objection to DDLS commenting on issues beyond the technical realm has been a great source of conflict between the two organizations.
DDLS is a good fit within HR.
HR’s role is to provide standardized and competency-based training, which DDLS provides. DDLS is highly specialized and its knowledge of detector dogs, and related and emerging smuggling trends enhances the quality of the training and technical support they provide. However, staying independent is a challenge for DDLS since the number of handlers is small and the relationship between DDLS and handlers is close. There is no evidence that this close relationship has resulted in DDLS passing teams that should have failed in their annual evaluations.
The manager of DDLS reports directly to the director general of the Learning Services Directorate while the Enforcement Branch DDS manager reports to the director of Borders Enforcement. This reporting structure means that an issue coming from DDLS goes to the director general of Learning Services, who would then meet with the Enforcement director general. The lack of parallelism between organizational counterparts has been a challenge, as operational issues are dealt with at too high a level. The creation of a director position in Rigaud may address this issue in part, but will not replace the need for a management framework.
The program recently implemented regional DDS program contact positions to support and facilitate communications between Enforcement Branch and regional operations.
These positions were created to provide Enforcement Branch with a single-window communications link to regional management teams on DDS initiatives. The role of these contacts is to disseminate policies and procedures, coordinate regional input (e.g., detector dog teams’ monthly reports, copies of court documents of cases involving a detector-dogs seizure) and perspectives, and coordinate annual detector dog team evaluations. In regions such as the Pacific, the contacts also provide briefing notes to regional/district management, handlers and staff on any issues concerning or affecting detector dog teams.
Regional contacts look after a number of initiatives and those interviewed indicated that they are limited in what they can do to support the DDS program. For example, while they receive handlers’ monthly statistics, they do not have the time to analyze them to identify actions and approaches to improve program delivery. For the regional contacts to support the program fully and have a tangible impact on the communication processes in the program, additional resources are needed.
While the program coordination effectiveness of the regional contacts varies from one region to another, this position has provided Enforcement Branch with a level of assurance that their messages are being passed on to the appropriate parties. The Enforcement Branch holds bi-monthly conference calls with the regional contacts and, on occasion, organizes working groups on specific issues that may include the Operations Branch. Periodically, a DDLS representative is invited to participate when issues related to training or the annual technical evaluations are on the agenda. For a greater level of communication and better coordination of the program, the regional contacts should also be kept aware of technical issues that handlers experience and the reasons that they contact the DDLS.
Handlers are split on whether these contacts provide value—the evaluation team heard opinions ranging from these contacts being another hierarchical step between them and the Enforcement Branch, to the contacts having become a focal point for joining all handlers at the port, including the FPA handlers who have not been fully integrated into CBSA organizational processes and culture. Even though regional contacts have been in place for only a year, four of 10 handlers have come to appreciate their roles, according to the handlers’ survey.
The regional contacts encourage handlers to address their questions to the appropriate organization (e.g., regional management, functional authority, DDLS) rather than the handlers’ current practice of going to DDLS for any program issue, whether it is technical or functional. Because of the close connection among handlers and between handlers and DDLS, handlers used to, and, to a certain degree, continue to contact DDLS for advice on functional matters that should be referred to Enforcement Branch.[ 7 ] The regional DDS contact, therefore, plays an important role in ensuring that the appropriate channels of communications are used. This role needs to be defined and integrated, and, consequently, must also be better profiled, communicated and supported for maximum results.
Although many handlers report to a superintendent, some handlers have no superintendent or have superintendents who do not fulfill their responsibilities.
This is highly problematic for several reasons. One issue relates to the scheduling of detector dog teams, in that it leaves the handlers to decide where to work, which may or may not cover high-risk times or locations. This may have a negative impact on handlers who do not have great discipline and knowledge. Handlers who resist being supervised will attribute this reluctance to their superintendents never having been handlers themselves and, therefore, lacking the technical expertise to manage detector dog teams and schedules.
Since there are various degrees of rigour in the management of detector dog teams, handlers with a good work ethic actively promote their services to other superintendents. While this helps coverage, it is not an effective use of a very specialized detection tool. In addition, superintendents do not all review and approve the handlers’ monthly reports. Such practices do not lend themselves to an accountable delivery of the program.
The site visits showed that when a port’s handlers report to a single superintendent or when handlers are part of flexible response or other enforcement teams, they work effectively, feel valued and have defined performance expectations. By contrast, handlers who do not work with other enforcement personnel find it challenging to do their work. For example, a handler working alone whose dog has indicated an illegal substance would have to take the dog to his/her vehicle and come back to complete the search. This is not an effective use of a handler’s time.
Interviews revealed that some superintendents without dedicated detector dog teams would, on occasion, like to access this service. For them, a centralized pool of detector dog teams that they could call on would enhance their examination work. It is unclear whether this option would improve or ensure risks-based coverage, as the flexibility of moving teams to ports in need already exists informally. It also implies that superintendents would know how and when to use such teams and that high levels of coordination and communication exist.[ 8 ] However, it is a concept that could be explored in areas where several ports are in close proximity.
The level of integration of FPA detector dog teams in the program fluctuates regionally. However, at this time, FPA handlers report to the same superintendent as other handlers in only one port.
They have little interaction with other non-FPA handlers, have loose relationships with superintendents and their function is misunderstood. There are culture clashes between FPA handlers and other CBSA port staff. FPA handlers with their “sausage dogs” are not perceived to be doing the “really important work” (e.g., catching drugs and laundered money), which also means that FPA handlers' referrals to secondary are regularly disregarded. Educating CBSA staff on the important contribution that FPA detector dog teams make to the prosperity and safety of Canada would further the integration and increase the effectiveness of their work.
Because of the origins of the program, FPA handlers use Beagles, can use 20 percent of their time on demonstrations, keep their dogs in commercial kennels, have different vehicles and related equipments, fill in different monthly reports, do not work in all modes and often have a science background. The number of FPA teams in service has diminished since the creation of the CBSA, currently standing at 11 teams. While one handler is on sick leave, three are in training and four have left their handler positions.
Chart 1 gives a comparison of handler opinions on a series of work-related issues by speciality. The questions presented are those where there was at least 30 percent difference between FPA and D/F and currency handlers’ opinions. For example, only 41.7 percent of FPA handlers agreed they have good communication and are receiving sufficient support from DDLS compared to 93.0 percent for the other handlers. Only 9.1 percent agreed they had sufficient opportunity to network with other handlers in the CBSA, compared to 48.8 percent for non-FPA handlers. The site visits revealed that when FPA handlers report to the same superintendent as the other handlers, they tend to feel more included, supported and valued for their contribution.
Source: Detector dog handler survey, June 2006
Just over half of the handlers (56.4 percent) have discussed performance expectations with their immediate superintendents. Fewer still assessed identified goals and objectives (49.0 percent).
This is substantially below the overall CBSA average at 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.[ 9 ] Handlers’ overall performance objectives (i.e., specific detection activities, other behaviours, practices, abilities, learning needs to support CBSA strategic goals) and annual assessments as employees have to be conducted by a superintendent.[ 10 ] In several interviews, superintendents saw the performance of handlers from a technical perspective only and, consequently, were of the opinion that, if a DDLS annual technical evaluation had taken place, the performance evaluation had been conducted.
Handlers feel that their opportunities for learning and development beyond the technical aspects of their jobs are limited.
Interestingly, only 60 percent of handlers surveyed said they had received the training required to do their jobs. Even fewer (33.3 percent) felt that they were provided with enough opportunities to develop the skills needed to enhance their careers. Since a good proportion of handlers do not have a performance agreement, they may not have a learning plan. It may also be an indication of a cultural shift among handlers; in the past, people who became handlers usually remained handlers for the rest of their careers. With frequent changes to the role and description of a BSO, not having an opportunity to keep up to date and continue to learn may limit future career choices.
Handlers in one-detector-dog-team ports find it challenging to stay motivated. For these handlers, having opportunities to network, share information and train with other handlers is very important, but such opportunities do not arise often. The handler survey showed that fewer than half (40.7 percent) have sufficient opportunities to network with other dog handlers in the CBSA, and 47.4 percent do not think that information, expertise and best practices are shared sufficiently and efficiently between detector dog teams. Creating a Web page or online forum to allow CBSA detector dog handlers to connect with one another was also a recurring theme in survey responses. While this may not be the best way to proceed, it reflects the handlers’ desire to connect. The interviews conducted as part of the site visits showed that handlers would benefit from training with and competing against the detector dog teams of other law-enforcement agencies. Not only is it good for building an enforcement community, but it is also an excellent forum for sharing best practices and developing new training methods. In addition, generally speaking, CBSA employees are encouraged to be members of the professional organizations corresponding to their professions, and handlers should not be treated differently. There is no evidence that participating in canine trials puts an unmanageable strain on CBSA operations.
The program area receives a substantial amount of rich performance information, but there is room for improvement.
Enforcement Branch receives monthly statistics from detector dog handlers through the regional DDS contact. Handlers with currency and D/F detector dogs fill in two forms, which are sent electronically to their respective DDS contacts. One form summarizes the hours and days spent on different types of activities.[ 11 ] The second form (detector dogs search report) provides information on seizures.[ 12 ] The FPA detector dog teams are still using old CFIA forms for seizures statistics. Enforcement Branch is creating a single seizure form for all handlers, including the FPA handlers.
Handlers provide the quantities and value of drugs they have seized to the Enforcement Branch, but the quantity information is not captured in the DDS databases. Since the value of drugs can change over time and across regions, capturing quantities would allow for a better historical analysis of such results. It is also not possible to use the program databases to measure the proportion of seizures by mode (e.g., land, air, marine) in spite of the information being partially captured on one of the forms. Knowing the mode in which seizures are made would help detector dog team deployment planning .
The program does not have reliable information on the amount of time handlers spend detecting, helping other agencies and doing demonstrations, even though handlers include such details in their monthly reports.[ 13 ] One reason is that not all information received is entered into the program databases, and not all available data are analyzed regularly.
Handlers are not provided with standardized, clear definitions of terms and guidelines to complete the forms.
A lack of uniform and comparable statistical information is making data analysis challenging. For example, seizures of U.S. currency are sometimes, but not always, converted into Canadian dollars. Many seizures of currency lower than $10,000 are recorded in the databases. There are drug seizures recorded in the database of null or negative value. The majority of these relate to articles that were in contact with drugs (such as drug pipes). There are typing errors as most of the information received by handlers is manually typed into DDS databases. Also, the Enforcement Branch has two databases for the program: one for the last fiscal year (2005-2006) and another for the previous fiscal years (from 1999-2000 to 2004-2005). Since there is an overlap[ 14 ] between the two databases (i.e., the same seizure information is found in both) and no way to link them, historical reporting and analysis is difficult. In combination, this translates into imprecise seizures statistics.
Since a variety of detection tools is used in different ports, it may be time to rethink indicators of success for detector dog team activities.
Management in the Enforcement Branch and the regions stated that it would be useful to know whether the detector dog teams’ seizures were “cold” or “hot” hits. A “hot hit” refers to detector dog teams being called in to confirm the presence of an illegal substance because of a BSO’s suspicion or discovery of an irregularity using a mechanical detection tool or advance information pointing to a suspect shipment or person. A seizure by a detector dog team on its own is a “cold hit”. This distinction would assist the Enforcement Branch in the further development of policies and guidelines and strategic placement of different detection tools in different ports. However, the increased complementary interaction of detection tools makes it more difficult to define success. In other words, it may be that a hot hit is a better indicator of an effective detector dog team than a cold hit, which is currently regarded as a key measure of the value of these teams. The value of detector dog teams is in their contribution to effectiveness. The DDS program will implement its newly developed RMAF in the next months and may consider reviewing the validity of stated performance indicators in light of this evaluation.
At the local level, handlers’ information is used for decision making. For example, GTA’s flexible response team management monitors seizure results by month and moves teams to other parts of the operations that may represent a greater risk.
Not all dogs can be good detector dogs; not all BSOs can be good handlers -- they must be carefully selected.
DDLS evaluates potential detector dogs against temperament standards and environmental, social, desirable and undesirable behaviours as well as on the results of physical and medical examinations. The selection and evaluation of promising dogs are comparable to international standards.[ 15 ]
The selection of handlers is the responsibility of the regions, based on Enforcement Branch’s criteria. DDLS is involved in two ways: by assisting regions in their process when requested; and by organizing two-day, pre-screening evaluation sessions for handler candidates. The sessions help potential handlers to find out whether a handler job is the right job for them before the training starts. DDLS would like to be more involved in the selection of handlers. For regions that request DDLS assistance, this makes sense because of DDLS’ experience in training hundreds of handlers over the years.
DDLS is similarly structured to other customs organizations’ training programs, including the length and type of training courses and the existence of annual technical evaluations.
For example, DDLS basic training programs run for 10 weeks. Last fiscal year, two teams were brought back to the training centre for a refresher course to address behavioural/technical issues affecting their performance. This course (tailored to the specific issues) may last from one to two weeks, depending on the team’s progress. The team is evaluated at the end of this period to determine if the problem has been corrected and, if it has, the team is re-certified and allowed to return to full duty. If not, the handler returns to other duties.
Enforcement Branch recently completed training materials for the FPA detector dog teams and DDLS is, for the first time, delivering training to FPA teams.
The DDS manual with new FPA modules was circulated to all handlers in July/August 2006. This, along with the training, which started in the fall of 2006, represents an important step toward integrating the FPA teams into the DDS program. The handler survey—conducted before these developments—clearly shows the FPA handlers’ dissatisfaction: only one in 10 said that the DDS training materials and guides improved the quality of their work. By contrast, half (51.2 percent) of all D/F and currency handlers said that they did. Two-thirds of D/F and currency handlers agreed that the training materials and guides are current and user friendly.
The annual technical evaluations enhance the effectiveness of detector dog teams and are appreciated by the handlers.
The yearly technical evaluations, which test the detection performance of both handler and dog, ensure that the teams not only meet the established standards of the DDS, but are also certified for court purposes. Handlers are evaluated on planning and preparing for a search, directing and controlling the dog and interpreting dog indications. The dogs are evaluated on their efficiency, agility, interest in the cone of scent, odour detection reflex, and search intensity and motivation.
Virtually all handlers (96.4 percent) believe the annual evaluations are effective and conducted with rigour. Furthermore, regional management and handlers interviewed were of the opinion that the evaluation of and follow-up with handlers experiencing technical difficulties are professionally conducted, very helpful in rectifying any unwanted dog behaviour and ensuring continued improvement. The approach of conducting technical evaluations every year is consistent with other countries’ practices and contributes to better performing detector dog teams. Regional management raised a concern that the practice of conducting technical evaluations of all the handlers in a port on the same day puts a strain on their operations.
It is common practice among foreign customs organizations to evaluate their detector dog teams' technical competencies every year. The United States' approach, for example, is to conduct annual technical evaluations, but also to use a national trainer for the annual technical evaluations every second year to avoid any bias. Based on the research conducted for this evaluation, conducting annual technical evaluations is an efficient practice.
Not many DDLS trained teams fail. Based on the 2005 technical evaluation reports, three of the 53 teams evaluated failed their annual technical assessment. Of the 36 annual evaluations that took place in 2004, all were successful. For some, it raises the question of whether the evaluations are difficult enough because a few handlers do not perform according to expectations. In addition, the close relationship between handlers and evaluators/trainers could compromise the objectivity of the evaluation. Input from handlers' superintendents on this evaluation could possibly provide some assurance.
Enforcement Branch is concerned that DDLS’ cost-recovery model of training other organizations’ detector dogs means that the training of CBSA detector dog teams is not prioritized.
There is no evidence that the CBSA has not received the detector dog training required as a result of DDLS' training of other government agencies' detector dog teams. According to DDLS, there are occasional last-minute training requests from CBSA, and while accommodated, these put a strain on their operations. Since the number of detector dog teams has remained constant over the last few years, scheduling conflicts delaying CBSA training requirements have not occurred, but this remains a possibility within DDLS’ cost-recovery model.[ 16 ] Avoiding such conflicts requires consolidated planning and communication between the parties.
DDLS appears to have a good reputation among law enforcement agencies in North America.
Correctional Services Canada, Miami Police and Bermuda Customs are examples of organizations that have used DDLS to train their canine teams and sent letters of appreciation of the training given and the quality of detector dog teams. DDLS was awarded a prize for exceptional service in October 2003 as a result of several clients’ satisfaction with the training and assistance provided.[ 17 ] Finally, when a provincial police force needed training for their new explosives detector dog teams, DDLS was chosen to develop and deliver the training program.
There is currently no overall national, consistent and robust risk framework used to determine the placement of the detector dog teams.
While the teams are, for the most part, in Canada’s largest ports, there is no framework that would indicate whether the number of teams is sufficient.[ 18 ] Enforcement Branch recently circulated a document to regional directors general asking for their detector dog needs. Other than filling vacant handler positions, the regions identified a need for an additional seven currency detector dog teams, five D/F detector dog teams and one FPA detector dog team. Other needs included the use of different breeds for FPA detection in cargo mode because Beagles are not appropriate for larger cargo shipment inspections. Also, the cross-training of currency and D/F detector dogs was identified as an approach to optimize the coverage in two ports.
While asking the regions to identify their needs for detector dog teams provides an operational perspective, deployment decisions should also be based on an overall, strategic understanding of risk. As it currently stands, regional senior management is not clear about who is or should be making such decisions.
Since 1999-2000, 11 percent of all drug seizures by detector dog teams in the GTA region have been made in the postal and courier modes. GTA dedicated a detector dog team to this mode three years ago. The GTA’s results reinforce the concept that detector dog teams can be used in all modes for solid results.
Chart 2 gives a representation of the extent to which detector dog teams are used among other customs organization of industrialized countries that provided information for this evaluation in relation to their populations. Sweden has the greatest number of detector dog teams per million, with 5.89 detector dog teams.Canada’s (CBSA) ratio of detector dogs by million of population is the second lowest compared to select countries.[ 19 ]
[ D ]
Source: Population estimate (2005) from the U.S. Census Bureau. Integrated Data Base Summary Demographic Data and number of detector dog teams of selected countries.
Detector dog teams’ seizures are substantial, but their seizures of drugs, firearms and currency have dropped over the last two years relative to all seizures.
Between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 (the only two years for which reliable historical data for the Agency as a whole exist), the value of the drugs seized by CBSA overall increased by 46 percent. The D/F detector dog teams, however, seized close to the same amount of drugs (by value) over these two years (-0.5 percent). The number of D/F detector dog teams has remained constant since 1999-2000. On the other hand, CBSA has, in the last few years, spent over $70 million on new technologies. Thus, the detector dogs continue to be cost effective, and CBSA’s investment in a variety of detection tools appears to have contributed to greater success. Similarly, an expansion of the DDS program could increase the likelihood of seizures.
FPA teams screen over a million passengers and crew members a year at various airports. They seized around 12,000 animal and 12,000 plant products. Of all the seizures reported by handlers in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 fiscal years, FPA teams were responsible for 98.6 percent, D/F teams 1.2 percent, currency teams for remaining 0.2 percent. Detector dog teams were involved in one of every five CBSA drug, firearm, currency and FPA seizures.
Over the last years, there were fewer drug seizures, but they were of greater value.
Since 1999-2000, Agency detector dog teams have seized drugs of a street value of $983 million in 3,339 separate seizures.[ 20 ] In 2005-2006, these teams seized $67.7 million worth in 160 separate seizures: eight seizures were worth more than $1 million ($63 million or 93 percent of total value seized), 12 seizures were worth between $100,000 and $1 million (3.9 million or 5.7 percent of total value) and 140 seizures were worth less than $100,000 (1.3 percent of total value).[ 21 ]
In 1999-2000, each D/F detector dog team averaged 18.4 seizures for an overall estimated street value of $7.8 million (see Chart 3). Excluding two large seizures[ 22 ], the amount of drugs seized by the teams has not changed drastically over the years. While there have been fewer seizures made, the amounts seized were bigger. For example, seizures less than $30 constituted a third of all drug seizures from1999 to 2004, 21 percent in 2004-2005 and 13 percent in 2005-2006.
[ D ]
Source: DDS Databases, Enforcement Branch
The number and value of currency seizures from currency detector dog team have dropped in the last three fiscal years, from $6.4 million in 2003-2004[ 23 ] to $0.5 million in 2005-2006.
Since 2003, CBSA's enforcement of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act has resulted in overall seizure of $131.8 million.[ 24 ] Since 2003-2004, the currency teams seized $27.4 million and dedicated currency detector dog teams were involved in a third these seizures, for a total value of $8.8 million. The majority of detector dog currency seizures in 2005-2006 (see Chart 4) took place in Toronto Pearson International Airport (PIA) (39 percent). At PIA, the currency detector dog team works within an overall currency team. Unlike PIA, the Vancouver International Airport's (VIA) currency team has no dedicated detector dog team. The Pacific region's currency detector dog team works mainly at Pacific Highway but assists VIA's currency team on occasion. Dedicated currency teams using available detection tools (i.e., dogs) see better results. While seizures statistics typically fluctuate from year to year, the low performance of currency detector dog teams in 2005-2006 can be explained by two of the four currency detector dog teams being out of service for five months in 2005. It is also possible that money launderers are aware of CBSA use of detector dogs and have moved their smuggling activities to other ports.
[ D ]
Source: DDS Databases, Enforcement Branch
Note: The chart takes into account all currency seizures, including seizures made by D/F teams.
Over the last six years, CBSA detector dog teams have participated in 2,757 searches for other law enforcement agencies.
During this time, there were 850 seizures of drugs and currency, valued at around $35 million. Last year alone, CBSA teams helped find $8.5 million worth of drugs and firearms, and $1 million undeclared currency.
While there is little evidence that the detector dogs are deterring smuggling (an expected outcome of the program), there are indications that the presence of detector dogs in ports across Canada is changing the behaviour of smugglers.
Examples include odour-masking or odour-sealing wrapping, methods that would directly affect the ability of detector dogs to find the prohibited, controlled or regulated goods or undeclared currency. It is the handlers’ perception that organized crime will move their smuggling activities to ports that do not have detector dogs. Anecdotal evidence shows that detector dogs also decrease the amount of drugs brought into Canada for personal use (e.g., buses bringing skiers from the United States into Canada, where tour operators have warned travellers that Canada employs detector dogs at the border, and all those found in possession of illegal substances will be removed from the bus and left to their own devices at the port).
CBSA’s detector dog teams attract positive media interest and help to increase the public’s awareness of Agency objectives and its innovative enforcement approaches.
An analysis of detector dog team coverage in the media between July 2004 and November 2006 revealed 30 articles. Ten of the articles covered either a seizure that a team had made or provided general information about CBSA detector dog teams. The articles were all informative and positive, and appeared in newspapers across Canada.
A series of children’s books based on one of CBSA’s detector dogs appeared on suggested reading lists for French schools across Canada.
The inspiration for the stories came from having attended a demonstration with CBSA’s detector dog Twister. Published by the Pierre Tisseyre publishing house, the books for children between 9 and 12 centre on a girl named Joséphine Ledoux and her adventures with a black-Labrador drug detector dog called Twister. To date, three books have been published and a total of 3,200 books have been sold.[ 25 ] This is an example of the value of demonstrations.
There are different views on whether the CBSA detector dog teams should be doing demonstrations.
Those that are in favour see the dogs and their handlers as the ambassadors of the Agency, increasing the public’s awareness of the CBSA’s innovative enforcement approaches. Those who doubt the value think it is more important for the detector dog teams to spend the time detecting. Since 1999-2000, detector dog teams have given 2,781 demonstrations to 418,908 participants. In 2005-2006, each handler gave six demonstrations to an average of 127 participants. According to the DDS program’s operations manual, priority should be given to primary schools, although handlers also give demonstrations to service clubs, community centres and during special events such as Drug Awareness Week, Crime Stoppers Programs, Police Week and International Customs Day. Ademonstration typically lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
All requests for DDS demonstrations or media appearances should go to the regional/district director for consideration and scheduling. The handlers’ superintendents usually give approval and, in many cases, handlers decide for themselves. Handlers are often asked to return to a school where they have already performed a demonstration because their demonstrations are regarded as highly educational.
There is some flexibility regarding the regional production of DDS promotional materials as long as the regions use approved templates and cover related costs. Enforcement Branch distributes promotional items. Last fiscal year, the Branch spent $5,000 on pens and $5,000 on stickers. This fiscal year, it spent $5,000 on key chains and an additional, $2,000 will be spent on postcards, $5,000 on pins and $22,000 on updating the DDS promotional video. If one includes the time spent by handlers on demonstration (6 demonstrations x 69 handlers x 2 hours), the total marketing costs measured in salary range from $33,000 to $57,000 depending on the year. This translates into a cost‑effective approach to increase the public’s awareness of the CBSA’s innovative enforcement approaches.
Detector dog teams give BSOs a sense of comfort.
If a detector dog team searches a car, for example, that a BSO has already searched and the dog does not indicate a problem, the BSO has greater assurance that nothing is hidden in the car. Several BSOs and superintendents mentioned this as an example of the added value of having detector dog teams at a port.
With the FPA teams joining CBSA, the Agency has another tool to detect the khat plant.
Khat is a stimulant used in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The fact that FPA teams can find this drug has helped bridge organizational culture differences in ports where FPA and D/F teams coexist.[ 26 ]
D/F detector dog teams are responsible for a significant proportion of CBSA currency seizures (see Chart 5.)
These teams found 23 percent of all undeclared currency in 2003-2004 and 39 percent in 2005-2006. In addition, all currency seizures in Pacific Highway in 2005-2006 are attributed to its two D/F detector dog teams. Since money and drugs often travel together, dogs may detect the drug residue on the currency. For this reason, it may be useful for the DDS program to consider cross-training drug/firearm dogs for currency detection and place them at select land border crossings to improve the coverage with a small investment. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have dogs that detect both drugs/firearms and currency to maximize coverage.
[ D ]
Source: DDS Databases, Enforcement Branch
The total budget for the DDS program is $5.933 million, with $4.6 million allocated to the regions and $1.3 million for HQ (Enforcement Branch ($417,000) and DDLS ($906,000)).[ 27 ] Enforcement Branch covers the costs of establishing D/F detector dog teams, but the regions are responsible for ongoing costs.[ 28 ] FPA detector dog teams are fully funded through transfer payments from CFIA, while currency detector dog teams are fully funded by the Cross Border Currency Reporting Program. After initiation, Enforcement Branch does not track the operational costs of the DDS program since the regions cover the costs of maintaining the teams.
The DDS program is delivered cost-effectively, compared to the past and to other countries.
In 2005-2006, the average annual cost for each of CBSA’s 69 detector dog team was $85,980 (see Chart 6). There has been a slight increase in the cost of delivering this program since 1992 when the cost per team was $80,549 (or $61,553 in 1992 dollars). For each dollar spent on the DDS program, approximately $15.60 worth of drugs, firearms and currency are seized yearly. Conversely, it costs CBSA $245 for each seizure, including FPA seizures.
[ D ]
Source: DDS RMAF 2006
CBSA’s costs are on the lower end of the spectrum compared to those of other customs organizations. A dog team in Sweden costs approximately $108,129 and a team in the United Kingdom costs $164,327.[ 29 ] An Australian detector dog team costs approximately $94,677, although set up differently; this cost includes two dogs (for the same or different substances) for every handler, but excludes the cost of acquiring dogs.
While D/F dogs are kept at the handlers’ homes, FPA handlers leave their dogs at a kennel to ensure the dogs are not exposed to generalized food odour. Commercial kenneling costs between $400 and $600 a month. D/F and currency handlers receive a monthly allowance of $85 to cover costs related to keeping their dogs at home. They also receive additional leave time, the use of kennels when on vacation and money to purchase cages. While there would be some savings by eliminating commercial kennelling, FPA dogs might not perform adequately if kept at home with their handlers.
The average cost of getting a new detector dog team ready for deployment is $57,521, excluding the salary of the handler and the training facilities in Rigaud (see Chart 7). While this is higher than the CBP’s teams, which is approximately $45,310 (the difference is mainly attributed to the lower cost of vehicles in the United States), it is lower than the programs in Australia ($61,891), Sweden ($69,400) and the United Kingdom ($78,553).
The regions’ annual cost for each detector dog team is, on average, around $68,900 and includes handlers’ salary (76 percent), overtime (7 percent), vehicle maintenance and dog care (13 percent), home kennelling allowance or private kennelling (3 percent) and annual technical evaluation (1 percent).
[ D ]
Source: DDS RMAF 2006 and DDLS information
The average cost of a new detector dog is $1,000.
In 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, DDLS acquired dogs from 29 breeders, dog brokers or dog shelters. The costs ranged from free to $2,500. This compares with, the average cost per dog of $5,000 in the United States, $1,900 in Germany and $1,100 in France.
Australia has taken a different approach by establishing its own breeding program, estimated to cost around $738,761 per year. Approximately 100 dogs a year are selected and trained to be detector dogs, which averages to about $7,500 per dog. However, unsuited or surplus dogs are sold and the money reinvested in the program, bringing this figure down.
DDLS’ procurement process of dogs ensures the lowest price per dog. For example, most of the dogs are “on loan” from the breeders for 30 to 60 days so that DDLS staff can test them to ensure that they meet their standards and are suitable for the work ahead.[ 30 ] Only the dogs deemed appropriate are kept and paid for. Thus, the cost per dog low; and relying on a variety of breeders means they having wider access to the 20 percent or so of all dogs that have the demeanour and character to become CBSA detector dogs. In addition, two dogs are initially trained with each handler to create a good match. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of a good match between dog and handler pairs.
Detector dogs are an effective detection tool and reduce the costs of conducting searches in all modes.
For example, for extensive examinations, it would take a detector dog team approximately 30 minutes to go through the interior of an airplane, compared to several BSOs, who would take three to four hours without a detector dog. Similarly, a detector dog team can search a vehicle in 5 to 10 minutes, while it could take a BSO closer to 20 minutes. Detector dogs have been very useful in postal warehouses as well, where 400 to 500 packages and mail can be checked in approximately 30 minutes, compared with examining by opening or X-raying mail (e.g., if it took 30 seconds to examine each package, the examination would take two hours).[ 31 ] FPA detector dog teams can go through about 400 pieces of luggage on the carousel in an airport in 45 minutes.[ 32 ] Not only do the detector dogs save time, they also provide a level of assurance that if they do not indicate the presence of an illegal substance, it is unlikely that one is present. In some settings, this gives BSOs more time to examine items sent to secondary for further examination.
CBSA detector dog actively detects (i.e., leash time) for 31 percent of a working shift[ 33 ]
Detector dogs work for 45 minutes and then rest for about the same amount of time. CBSA dogs operate on the basis of positive reinforcement and motivation for play, and, when the teams work, they are highly energetic. The dogs also have to be fed, trained and played with. Comparing active detection (i.e., leash time) with other customs organizations, CBSA teams fall in the middle – it is greater than in Australia (20 percent) and Germany (20 percent) but lower than Sweden (54 percent) and the United States (42 percent).
More and more detection technologies are becoming available. None of these has replaced the use of detector dogs, and, in fact, there is no scent that dogs cannot be trained to detect
Human beings have used dogs for detection and tracking for hundreds, if not thousand of years.[ 34 ] Dogs have 300 million olfactory cells compared to human beings’ five million, and their brains’ capacity to process smell is 40 times greater than ours. Dogs “see” with their noses.[ 35 ]
This is one of the reasons that DDLS conducts research and, at times, proposes new programs for new substances. It is important for the program to be open to new uses of detector dog teams, and to ensure alignment with new border threats. The U.S. CBP has dog teams for chemical precursors, explosives and concealed human beings in addition to trauma and rescue dog teams. The United Kingdom Customs has detector dog teams trained to indicate contraband DVDs in postal facilities to combat piracy of motion pictures.[ 36 ] Detector dogs are also used to detect undeclared cigarettes in several foreign customs organizations.
The CBSA has invested in a variety of detection technologies (IMS (Ion Mobility Spectrometry), VACIS (Mobile and Pallet Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System) and X-ray technologies) and these are complementary to the detector dogs. The difference between these technologies and the detector dogs is that dogs lead handlers to the source of scent, while officers have to bring suspicious items to the machines. Detector dogs can detect substances that release vapours, while machines can detect compounds that do not smell.[ 37 ] There are emerging technologies such as electronic nose devices. They are used in the food industry to detect spoilage odours[ 38 ] and in space shuttles[ 39 ] to detect particular compounds or humidity. There are also new explosive vapour trace detection tools to detect bombs using laser spectroscopy to prevent terrorists bringing bombs aboard airplanes.[ 40 ] Combating border criminality requires a variety of means.
FPA detector dogs, the Beagles, were traditionally purchased from New Zealand. However, Beagles are also bred in Canada and there are a variety of breeds that can be used for FPA purposes.
Some of the FPA handlers interviewed for this evaluation did not think the Beagles were appropriate for their work. Because they are small, they are at risk of passengers around the carousels stepping on them, and, at times, they cannot reach luggage on the upper parts of the cart. Because of their size, there are limitations to their working in other modes, whether they are in marine ports or postal facilities. Using a variety of breeds would allow FPA detection in other modes.
Customs organizations in different countries employ a variety of breeds, including English Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, German Shorthaired Pointers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, Border Collies, Schnauzers, English Beagles, and mixed breeds. To become a detector dog, the dog must be willing to work and possess a hunting drive. These types of dogs can be trained to detect any substance.
Using an electronic device for handlers to report their detailed activities would facilitate the statistical analysis of program results and prevent typing errors.
Australia’s canine program uses personal digital assistants, through which handlers provide information on their activities and results daily. It saves time as there is no need to input the information manually and there is current, up-to-date performance information that management can use for their program decision making. In addition, any new smuggling trends or odour-masking methods can be shared faster. This is information that could permit greater effectiveness and efficiency in preventing smuggling.
Reward the handlers and make them feel that they are providing value to CBSA and Canada.
Sweden’s customs has adopted the approach of estimating the value of detector dog teams’ drug seizures in terms of their value to Swedish society. Each gram is put in relation to a decrease in public expense on customs and police intervention, correctional services, health care, etc. This information is shared with all its employees almost in real time. The intention is to profile handlers and the importance of their work.
The Agency could benefit from a more robust marketing program of the DDS program.
Handlers indicated that they did not always know what to say at their demonstrations. They did not have sufficient knowledge to answer some of the attendees’ detailed questions on various substances. Communications support in the form of generic presentations with details of information that each of the detector dog specialties could share would assist handlers (especially those that are new) and allow for more standardized, streamlined presentations and messages. As discussed above, DDS represents an important marketing opportunity for the Agency. CFIA purposely used their detector dogs as a corporate image to educate the public on what they can and cannot bring in and out of Canada.
The DDS program’s expected results are in line with CBSA and government strategic results and priorities.
The ultimate results of DDS contribute to CBSA’s expected strategic outcome of “efficient and effective border management that contributes to the security and prosperity of Canada”. The DDS program intends to increase the effectiveness of examinations of travellers, goods and conveyances, improve deterrence of smuggling of contraband, prohibited, controlled or regulated goods and undeclared currency, and improve client service for travellers and industry crossing Canada’s borders. According to the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities, “one of the primary functions of CBSA front-line officers is to identify and take appropriate enforcement action to minimize the risks of dangerous people and goods entering and remaining in Canada”.[ 41 ]
The program is also aligned with the government’s national strategy, Securing an Open Society: Canada's National Security Policy, released in April 2004. The strategy’s focus on protecting the country and its citizens, and contributing to international security includes border security.[ 42 ] Border security involves the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel, while preventing high-risk travellers and goods from entering Canada through land, air or marine ports. In addition, DDS program results are aligned with the government’s Tackling Crime priority by preventing illegal firearms and narcotics from entering the country and landing on our streets. The DDS program is an effective and relevant detection tool in preventing threats from entering the country.
With an increased need for tighter border security, the rationale for the DDS program remains valid and continues to address an actual need.
A detector dog is one of several types of detection tools used by the CBSA. The need for a variety of detection tools is validated not only by the movement of illegal goods coming across the borders today, but also by the increasing sophistication of organized crime. Between 2000 and 2003, Canadian authorities at ports of entry seized a total of 7.8 metric tonnes[ 43 ] of marijuana, 4.7 metric tonnes of cocaine and 34.8 metric tonnes of hashish.[ 44 ] According to this source, an estimated one to two metric tonnes of heroin are smuggled into Canada yearly. Between 2000 and 2003, approximately 100 kilograms of heroin per year were seized by Canadian authorities, including the CBSA, representing between 10 percent and 20 percent of the heroin smuggled into the country.
The illicit firearms market in Canada is supplied predominately from two sources: firearms smuggled from the United States or stolen from private residences or commercial venues in Canada.[ 45 ] It is difficult to estimate the number of illegal firearms that are currently in Canada or that enter annually. Since 1978, over 97,000 such firearms have been recorded to the Canadian Police Information Centre as stolen or missing. Smuggled guns account for about half of the handguns recovered in crime in Canada; thus, an additional 97,000 would have entered Canada in that period.[ 46 ]
The currency detector dog teams also represent an important tool. As outlined by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada), money laundering and terrorist financing are threats to the security of Canada. In Canada, money laundering is a multi-billion-dollar problem. Across the world, an estimated two to five percent of the world gross domestic product, or between $900 billion and $2.25 trillion Canadian dollars are “underground” money and linked to a variety of organized crime and terrorist organizations.[ 47 ]
The CBSA is also responsible for the administration and enforcement of the importation of food, plant and animals within both traveller and commercial streams under the Plant Protection Act and the Health of Animals Act and their regulations. The FPA detector dogs are one of very few tools available for detecting such products. The consequences of allowing their entry can be catastrophic, both to individual Canadians’ health and safety and to the overall national economy. Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the avian influenza are examples of high-risk diseases that can be present in products that FPA dogs are trained to find.
As recently announced by the Government of Canada, the CBSA will be arming its BSOs over the next few years. It is not clear whether this will compromise the effectiveness of detector dogs, which are trained to find firearms. On one hand, trainers say that a dog can be trained to distinguish between firearms that are concealed versus those that are carried openly. On the other hand, when an odour is strong in an environment, it may be challenging for a dog to focus on the firearms that are being smuggled in. This issue needs to be monitored as the Arming Initiative unfolds.
Detector dog teams complement the many other CBSA detection tools in that they can be used alongside them or in environments where other tools cannot be used. Searching for drugs in small spaces and covering areas with large quantities of cargo or people in an expeditious manner are examples of instances where the detector dogs are very useful. Discontinuing the DDS would mean that there was one less detection tool, thereby decreasing the Agency’s ability to detect prohibited, controlled or regulated goods and undeclared currency effectively.
The evaluation found that the DDS program continues to be a relevant CBSA program and is fully aligned with the Government of Canada and the CBSA's mandates. Detector dog teams were involved in one of every five CBSA drug, firearm, currency and FPA seizures in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. In 2005-2006, detector dog teams were involved in the seizure of $67.7 million worth of drugs in 160 separate incidents. FPA teams, on the other hand, screened over a million passengers and crew members at various airports last year and seized around 12,000 animal and 12,000 plant products. The value of currency seizures from currency detector dog teams has ranged from $6.4 million to $0.5 million a year since these teams were added to the program. Detector dogs are a powerful tool against the entry of prohibited, controlled or regulated goods and undeclared currency, and an effective complement to the various detection technologies and officer enforcement training that CBSA is also using in its efforts to combat border criminality. Detector dogs are one of the few tools preventing the entry of some food, plant and animal products into Canada.
The DDS program cuts across several CBSA branches, with staff that are passionate about their work. There is no clearly defined management framework guiding the roles and responsibilities of those delivering the program in the DDLS, Enforcement Branch, Operations Branch and the regions, and this has caused some degree of confusion and uncertainty for many parties: DDLS providing functional guidance directly to the handlers, bypassing the Enforcement Branch; regional DDS contacts involving themselves to different extents, depending on the priorities of their other tasks; superintendents believing that an annual technical evaluation of detector dog teams replaces a performance agreement and assessment; and handlers scheduling their own days are examples of boundaries being tested, overstepped or avoided. Recommendation 1 is, therefore, as follows:
Recommendation 1: Fully develop, implement and communicate a management framework for the program:
Enforcement Branch has developed SOPs for the FPA detector teams and recently developed new training materials. The first CBSA FPA group graduated from DDLS in November 2006. Operationally, the FPA teams have a long way to go before they are fully integrated. The differences between them and the other detector dog teams are numerous: they have different superintendents, different types of dogs, use commercial kennels as opposed to bringing their dogs to a kennel at home, work only at airports, detect substances that are, for the most part, not subject to criminal prosecution, are allowed 20 percent of their time for demonstration compared to 10 percent for the other teams, etc. These differences have created barriers to communication among handlers and between FPA handlers and BSOs, and perceptions that FPA teams are performing completely different jobs, resulting in inconsistent management approaches of FPA teams. Recommendation 2 is, therefore, as follows:
Recommendation 2: Quickly complete the integration of FPA detector dog teams into the DDS program by:
There is currently no overall national and consistent risk framework to determine the placement of the detector dog teams. While the teams are, for the most part, in Canada’s largest ports, there is no framework that would indicate they are in the right places and whether there are sufficient teams. Recently, Enforcement Branch initiated consultations with the regions, which showed that there is a combined need for another 13 teams. While requirements coming from the ground up represent regional needs, deployment decisions should not be driven by this alone. In addition, while detector dog teams seizures have remained constant over the last few years, there is the possibility that there would be more seizures with more teams. As a result, the following is recommended:
Recommendation 3: Implement a comprehensive and robust annual risk assessment process to ensure maximum coverage of detector dog teams at high-risk ports, reviewing the current placement of the detector dog teams and determining the need for additional teams.
Handlers provide a substantial amount of information of how they spend their time and what they have searched and seized every month. However, they have not been provided with a clear definition of terms and guidelines for filling in forms. The data issue is compounded by the arrival of the FPA teams who use CFIA forms to report seizures and the fact that important pieces of the handlers’ information (e.g., quantity, mode, locations) are not recorded in Enforcement Branch’s database. This has led to inconsistent statistical information, preventing analysis of program performance. Recommendation 4 is, therefore, as follows:
Recommendation 4: Enhance the monitoring, analysis and reporting of program performance by:
Recommendation 1: Fully develop, implement and communicate a management framework for the program to all delivery partners for better program delivery and to foster a better understanding of its objectives, challenges and opportunities.
Enforcement Branch has already developed roles and responsibilities documents for the DDS program area, DDLS (service level agreement) and DDS regional contacts. The Enforcement Branch will build on the recently completed Results-based Accountability and Management Framework and develop a comprehensive management framework, in consultation with the Operations, Admissibility and Human Resources Branches, that also includes the roles and responsibilities of handlers, superintendents, regional management and Headquarters branches. Similarly, Enforcement Branch will work with Operations Branch to clarify the DDS regional contacts’ roles and responsibilities and communicate these to all DDS stakeholders within their region. This will include the consideration of alignment between their duties and the time and resources required.
Operations and Human Resources branches will encourage regional management to provide handlers with annual performance assessments and learning plans. Enforcement Branch will include a statement in the DDS manual that handlers are to receive individual employee performance assessments in addition to their annual DDLS technical evaluation. This action will support both the individual handler and the CBSA learning organization.
Operations Branch will develop a communication strategy supporting the integration of detector dog teams in enforcement teams, consistency of supervision and management direction, and the appropriate scheduling to ensure effective use of the teams. Similarly, Operations Branch will consult the Human Resources and the Enforcement branches to establish assignments with specific durations for handlers. Enforcement Branch will ensure that funding and training are available.
Recommendation 2: Quickly complete the integration of FPA detector dog teams into the DDS program by incorporating FPA detector dog teams to the extent possible under the same superintendent as other detector dog teams, and developing an awareness package for wide CBSA distribution on the program’s benefits, contribution and importance.
Operations Branch, in consultation with Enforcement Branch, will ensure that detector dog teams report to the same management team, where possible. Enforcement Branch will include a statement to this effect in the DDS manual. In addition, Enforcement Branch will consult with Operations and Admissibility branches to develop policies and procedures that will integrate the detector dog program at both the regional and national levels. Communications efforts will focus on the DDS program as a whole, and Enforcement Branch will work with Admissibility Branch to develop a communication fact sheet to educate the CBSA staff on the importance of the FPA detector dog program.
Recommendation 3: Implement a comprehensive and robust annual risk assessment process to ensure maximum coverage of detector dog teams at high-risk ports, including an assessment of national needs for additional teams.
Enforcement Branch, with the Operations and Admissibility branches, will further define an annual risk-assessment process and confirm that detector dog teams are being used at the highest risk ports. As an initial step, the regions will be required to complete a business assessment template. Enforcement Branch will work with the Operations and Admissibility branches, with technical advice from Human Resources Branch to encourage regional management to consider using detector dog teams in postal, courier and rail modes. In consultation with the Human Resources, Admissibility and Operations branches, Enforcement Branch will also further research the viability of cross-training detector dogs.
Recommendation 4: Enhance the monitoring, analysis and reporting on the performance of the program by integrating the DDS program’s databases to facilitate historical reporting and analysis and eliminate inconsistencies.
Enforcement Branch believes that greater effectiveness and efficiency of combating border criminality will be achieved through the enhancement of monitoring, analysis and reporting on the performance of the program. As a result, Enforcement Branch will consult with the Operations and Admissibility branches to re-evaluate the data required by the regions and headquarters on a monthly basis, and subsequently revise a reporting methodology. Enforcement Branch will explore the possibility of incorporating the data into the Consolidated Management Reporting Service. Furthermore, Enforcement Branch will work with the Operations and Admissibility branches to provide direction on detector dog handlers’ reporting procedures when teams are involved in seizures, and include specifics in the DDS manual. Procedures are currently in place for officers to advise regional intelligence officers of new smuggling trends or odour-masking methods.
It is expected that it will take approximately 12 months to implement these recommendations.