Police canine awarded service medal for drug detection


A South African Police Service (SAPS) canine, a Sable German Shepherd named Savage, has been awarded a service medal for his role in detecting vast quantities of illegal drugs.

The City of Cape Town’s Metro Police Chief Wayne le Roux on 9 July paid tribute to the Metro Police K9 Unit and awarded Savage a service medal in recognition of his achievements with handler Constable Mosuli Faku.

Savage has been with the Metro Police K9 Unit for nearly three years, and has sniffed out vast quantities of drugs this year.

The City of Cape Town said that in the last six months, Savage accounted for six arrests and the confiscation of 85 units of the heroin-based drug unga, 690.5 mandrax tablets, 69 units and 18.29 grams of cocaine, 424 bankies and 202.88 grams of tik, 104 stoppe of dagga as well as two bags and 515 bankies, and cash to the value of R2 630. The estimated street value of the drugs recovered by Savage is R160 000.

The Metro Police K9 Unit consists of 25 canines, 20 of whom are on active duty and specialising in the detection of narcotics, explosives and copper. Three are currently on training, one is breeding and another one has been seconded to assist the Law Enforcement Metal Theft Unit.

“A number of our canines are new, so officer Savage is setting a wonderful example for the rest of the team. His performance in the first six months of this year has been noteworthy indeed, and has ranged from sniffing out drugs hidden in trees and even underground. Officer Savage is an asset to our efforts to curb the illicit drug trade, and we felt it appropriate to award him with a service medal in recognition of his efforts,” said Le Roux.

The City of Cape Town said that in the twelve months between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019, the Metro Police K9 Unit has achieved numerous successes. These included 156 arrests (66% of these were drug-related); 186 operations (both joint and autonomous, vehicle check points etc.); two stolen vehicles recovered; five firearms recovered/confiscated; 86 rounds of ammunition recovered/confiscated; 4 226.25 units of drugs confiscated; R33 471.80 in cash confiscated; 4 765 units of abandoned drugs confiscated; and 30 rounds of abandoned ammunition recovered.

“Our specalised units perform a very critical function, in particular our canines. Over the years, drug dealers have become increasingly creative in hiding their wares, but our dogs are up to the task. They have enlightened their handlers with these finds, so now officers know how to adjust their search patterns when they conduct operations,” Le Roux said.

“We are very proud of the work done by our K9 Unit, both during enforcement and also through their education and awareness outreaches. They have helped us develop strong bonds with communities, particularly in teaching children about the role of law enforcement, but they are also a criminal’s worst nightmare. It’s a perfect balance,” he said.