THE Fiji Police Force has started using sniffer dogs at the Nadi International Airport to sniff out drugs and explosives.
Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said the sniffer dogs were an added advantage to the police force.
Four dogs are being used at the airport's departure and arrival areas to sniff out drugs and explosives that can possibly be taken out of the country or brought in.
"We had the capability of tracker dogs before but now we have sniffer dogs that can sniff out drugs and explosives," said Brig-Gen Naivalurua.
"The presence of the dogs at the airport will make sure that visitors to our shores feel safe and secure.
"A lot of workshops and symposiums are held in Fiji that attract overseas leaders and we want to ensure that they are safe when they arrive.
"We want to show that the police force is ready for 2014 and beyond," said the Police Commissioner.
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the force would use sniffer dogs at other ports of entry in the country.
"We will be using sniffer dogs at Nausori Airport, the wharves in Lautoka and Suva, and at the ports of entry in the North now," he said.
Insp Sokomuri said the police force had dog kennels in Suva, Namaka, Lautoka, Cuvu in Sigatoka, the Lausa Police Post between Ba and Tavua, Labasa, Taveuni and at Raralevu in Nausori.
He said the dogs were raised and trained in Fiji with the assistance of some experts residing in the country.
"It is a first for Fiji for a number of dogs to be used at the ports of entry to sniff out drugs and explosives that may be going out or coming into the country.
"We started using the dogs at Nadi International Airport last Monday but the official program was held on Friday.
"The local people seem to be surprised after seeing dogs at the departure and arrival concourse of the Nadi International Airport but for the tourists it's something normal."
Asked if the introduction of sniffer dogs at the ports of entry also stemmed from reports of some Fijians joining the Taliban, Insp Sokomuri said: "Fiji is part of what's happening globally. We are not immune to such threats and the sniffer dogs at the ports of entry will be an added assistance to track down on drug traffickers and explosives."