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The puppy Heila will intensify the supervision of arms and explosives at Helsinki Airport

Media release.
Published: 12-Aug-2016 09:30 am
Publisher: Tulli

Finnish Customs will place an arms and explosives search dog at Helsinki Airport. A six-month old Labrador retriever puppy called Heila has been selected for the task. The arms and explosives search dog will be working in the whole country.

Heila will be Customs' first dog specialised in searching for arms and explosives. Due to the changes in the international security situation, it is necessary to intensify the supervision of arms, ammunition and explosives. In the last few years, Finnish Customs has made around 300 finds at Helsinki Airport related to arms, arms components, ammunition, explosives and explosives precursors among online purchases, luggage from passenger planes as well as air freight. Customs estimates that some of these finds were very dangerous.

Heila's training is coordinated by the Customs Dog Training Centre. The training started in June with socialisation and manageability exercises. It continued with exercises in identifying arms and cartridges. The actual training in searching for arms and explosives will begin in January 2017 at the Police Dog Training Centre.

Heila’s handler will receive training to become an explosives expert at Customs. The handler’s training will start in October with a demolition course at the Military Engineer School of the Finnish Defence Forces in Lappeenranta. Finnish Customs cooperates with other law enforcement authorities and military authorities in the supervision of arms and explosives.


Finnish Customs is a part of the customs system of the European Union. Customs is a state agency supervised by the Ministry of Finance through management by results. Finnish Customs cooperates with the trade community as well as with domestic and foreign authorities. Finnish Customs has approximately 2 200 employees.

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