Security for learners

June 2008 Integrated Solutions

Regrettably, educational facilities in South Africa have become a crime hotspot, often leading to violent and widely publicised incidents. Because these facilities are often public institutions, access control and security are an ever-growing challenge.

Hi-tech security measures, like fingerprint access control systems, electronic doors and sophisticated CCTV equipment are some of the technical security measures that have proven to be effective in combating crime, although often controversial and regarded with suspicion by students and staff alike.

The most important tool, however, remains the very people that are working at or attending these institutions. Many of the criminal activities at these facilities are performed by staff, students or individuals linked to staff members, ex staff members, students or former students and contractors. For this reason an effective access control database, containing names, ID numbers, fingerprints, photographs of current and former staff and students are vital. So is a system to accredit contractors and store the same information on a long-term basis. A high-resolution camera system that provides the registration number of vehicles and facial recognition at all access points to the premises is vital, especially if it is actively monitored on a 24-hour basis.

Technical solutions aside, human intelligence-gathering mechanisms have also proven invaluable in securing educational facilities and actually preventing dangerous incidents and identifying security loopholes prior to criminal incidents occurring - prevention remains better than cure.

This intelligence can be obtained by infiltrating the workforce or contractors, and even the student community, to find out what the real causes for criminal activities are and counter them with appropriate corrective action.

Introducing a whistle-blower facility into schools and universities can provide a cost effective solution for gathering vital information by using the very staff and students as eyes and ears. This also helps to instill a culture of honesty in the institutions that filters through to staff and students alike.

The demise of discipline in schools has proven to be a vital contributing factor to school violence and by obtaining accurate information on acts of bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, vandalism etc and taking stern and appropriate action on this information, the spiral of moral decay can be reversed and serious incidents averted. The crucial aspect of whistle-blowing is that the whistle-blower can rest assured that although he or she is scared of retribution, their identity will never be exposed.

For details contact Justicia Investigations, +27 (0)86 000 5111, admin@symbiotix.co.za, www.symbiotix.co.za





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