Shaina, the two year and four month-old black Labrador sniffer dog posted at Anti-Narcotic Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai crime branch has hardly been on the field since it was appointed two years back.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police’s two other sniffer dogs Leo, a Doberman, and Jessy, a Belgian Shepherd, have been regularly seen at crime scenes, including those of murders and robberies, even during the lockdown.
Since 1994 the five-unit Narcotic Cell of the Mumbai police has been functioning without any sniffer dogs. Shaina was appointed in October 2018. The trained black Labrador was hardly fourth months old then and took training for six months at SeemaSurakhshaBal Centre in Alwar, Rajasthan for drug-detection. . It was handed over to the department and then officially commissioned into the ANC in October, 2018.
Sources from Mumbai police said Shaina was taken out just once in last two years. Her handler is also sitting idle. “Usually drugs are supplied through essential service vehicles. In such cases, as per the information, a raid is conducted. In such a raid Shaina can be helpful in tracing the drugs,” said the officer. In the meantime, Shaina has also got a fellow teammate in May 2019 with the recruitment of Honey, a female German Shepherd who became field ready last month.
“There is a lack of coordination between the handler and the ANC officers. Also, usually the dog squad catches undue attention and during raids that can alert the peddlers,” said a source in the crime branch.
With Bollywood’s drug links making headlines, the case is presently handled by the Central agency, Narcotic Control Bureau. But with instances of drug peddling increasing in the city and with the spotlight on it, the ANC can definitely use some canine support. Datta Nalawade, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anti-Narcotic Cell of Mumbai crime branch who is newly appointed to the post said, “We will see to the optimum use of these dogs.”
Members of the Mumbai Police Dog Squad
Heena: Retired in 2019
Goldy: The 8-years-old is a crime-scene regular
Steffy: The 9-year-old isn’t keeping fit these days
Leo: The 3-year-old works on murder and robbery cases
Jessy: The 18-month-old works on murder and robbery cases
Maya and Whisky: Tracker dogs still under training
Shainaand Honey: Sniffer dogs with the ANC