On 16 October 2019, pursuant to subsection 7(1) of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement Act 2010, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement (the committee) resolved to inquire into the potential development and introduction of an Australian Standard in relation to the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs, with particular reference to:
any issues arising in the context of the work of law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Federal Police, in relation to the training and use of privately contracted security and detection dogs, or insights from law enforcement that might help guide the development of an appropriate National Standard;
At that time, the committee was not aware of any plans to develop an Australian Standard. Members of the committee agreed that there were valid concerns regarding the lack of regulation and minimum requirements for training, assessment, and operation of privately contracted security and detection canines and how this might impact the integrity of law enforcement services. Subsequent to the committee's resolution to inquire into the development of a national standard, Standards Australia, the peak non-government standards body, commenced work to develop a voluntary national standard for private sector patrol and detection dogs following a proposal that was submitted and approved in December 2019.
The committee invited submissions from interested organisations, individuals and government bodies. The committee received 18 submissions. A list of public submissions, together with other information authorised for publication is provided at Appendix 1.
The committee held one public hearing on 21 September 2020. The witnesses who appeared before the committee are listed in Appendix 2.
Following this introductory chapter, Chapter 2 outlines some of the private and government sector standards in use, the arrangements in the United Kingdom and the United States as key international comparisons to Australia, and the scope, nature, and process for developing the proposed Australian Standard for private sector security and detection dogs. Chapter 2 then summarises support received during the inquiry for the introduction of the proposed Australian Standard and explores suggestions relating to the content, structure, compliance and enforcement of the Standard. It concludes with the committee's views and recommendations.
The committee thanks the organisations and individuals that made written submissions, and those who gave evidence at the public hearing.