The Australian Federal Police has today apologised for an incident at Sydney Airport last month in which a series of things-that-shouldn’t-have-happened-but-did led to a woman unwittingly leaving the airport with explosives in her possession.
The device – which wasn’t live – had been planted in a suitcase and used earlier that day in a routine canine training drill. It then changed hands when it was offered as a replacement suitcase to the woman whose own bag had been damaged during flight. So the AFP basically forgot about the explosives, that definitely had to happen, right? Then the bag with all the explosives it it was reclaimed by whoever gave it to the woman, who then walked around with it and left undetected. It’s a Border Security miracle.
After discovering the device, the woman immediately took it to the Cessnock Police Station where officers temporarily evacuated the building as a safety precaution.
AFP Sydney Airport Commander Wayne Buchhorn has apologised for his department’s stunning lack of competence. “The AFP takes this error seriously and the canine instructor who inadvertently left this device behind has been identified and will be the subject of a formal Professional Standards Investigation,” Buchhorn said. “Although the travelling public was not in danger at any time, we regularly review our processes in this area, and we will do again in the light of this incident. This type of training is essential for our canine teams, allowing the dogs to experience potential threats in a real environment.
“On behalf of the AFP, I would like to thank the woman, her family and New South Wales Police, especially officers at Cessnock Police Station, for their assistance in this matter.”
Over to you, Picard.