It has been a busy month for Tasmania Police’s drug detection dog, Fang.
The two-year-old Labrador has been hitting the streets with his fellow officers as police increase their high-visibility patrols across Launceston.
Successfully sniffing out offenders on every trip, Fang has managed to catch people selling drugs, in possession of drugs and others who had recently used drugs.
In one of his most recent missions, Fang was put on night patrol in the city with 11 officers including his handler and two Drug Investigation Services detectives.
Heading out on the weekend, Fang and Tasmania Police searched 19 people, with officers seizing ecstasy and cannabis.
One person was found to be selling drugs and seven others were charged with drug offences.
Launceston Inspector Darren Hopkins said on top of drug detection, two other people were confronted by Tasmania Police on Saturday night and told to “move on” because of their behaviour.
“One of those was for disobeying direction and exposing himself to passing traffic,” Inspector Hopkins said.
“Operations of this type will continue into the future and they were well received by members of the public and licensees.”
Fang was out and about again on Wednesday, but this time during the day.
Inspector Hopkins said police patrols in the mall were focused on reducing anti-social behaviour.
While the patrols have generally received positive feedback from retailers, some members of the public questioned whether it was a waste of police resources “just to catch minor drug users”.
But Inspector Hopkins said “every time we have been out on operation we have caught a drug trafficker, so yes we are catching those that are just using but we are also catching people who are selling drugs in town and in the nightclubs”.
“A lot of the staff from licensed premises are happy to see us, even general members of the public have approached us to say how they enjoy seeing the increased police presence but also the fact that we are out there catching drug offenders.”