SONJA THERON

The new Operational Management Centre has officially been opened at the Department of Security Services. This high tech centre monitors some 500 CCTV cameras on UP campuses and residences.

This R1,5 million project, funded by the university budget and some external donations, has been in the works for several years. It was determined that a new centre was needed because of the rise in student numbers and a changing organised crime environment. Security is also needed due to increased special events on and around university campuses.

According to Colin Fouché, Director of Security Services, this centre will help in tackling these problems by centralising security activities. This will result in “more effective collaboration and access to information” and thus faster decision making. The response time to security threats is thus expected to improve.

In an address at the opening of the centre prof. Chris de Beer, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, said “threats to our security overshadows all other challenges and problems we have to contend with”.

Prof. Niek Grové, Registrar, also highlighted the reason for investing into security by saying, “without freedom from fear an academic institution cannot exist”. He towed a hard-line in relation to crime. “We cannot tolerate lawlessness or wrongdoing outside or on campus.”

Prof. Antonie de Klerk, who handled the building project and design of the facility, explained that extensive planning went into the project to make it affordable and functional. He also affirmed that it would make a major contribution to improving safety on campus.

Included in the Operational Management Centre will be a client reception room, a manager’s office and a technological operations room. It will be manned 24 hours a day all year round. Aside from security threats it will also monitor occupational hazards such as alarm systems.

This new Operational Management Centre was described by prof. Grové as “not a case of Big Brother watching you, but big sister looking out for you.”

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