24 July 2018 Photo Johan Roux
Student safety at centre of UFS agenda
UFS and Central University of Technology students at last year’sStudent Safety Awareness March.

The safety of students is at the fore of the University of the Free State’s agenda.
A number of on- and off-campus security measures exist which are constantly being developed and supplemented as the need arises. Students are urged to take cognisance and make use of these services and facilities that seek to address safety and security issues.

24/7 Operational Centres

Protection Services consistently works towards ensuring that security is tight on UFS campuses through its 24/7 Operational Centres. Emergencies and crime incidents that affect students may be reported at the centres. The certification of documents and drafting of affidavits are also facilitated at these centres.

Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) Cameras

All campuses are monitored by CCTV cameras on a 24/7 basis.  A process is under way to further enhance cameras to cover hotspots. Recently a total of 107 cameras were upgraded to improve the safety of students. An assessment on the adequacy of lighting was conducted and a process is under way to improve lighting on campuses where a weakness was observed.

Red Pole Alarms (Panic buttons)
Red pole alarms fitted with cameras were installed around the Bloemfontein Campus. These are linked to the Operational Centre. Alarms are tested daily and any problems observed are attended to immediately. A process also under way to install red pole alarms on the South Campus.

Security Patrols
 
Security patrols are conducted on a daily basis on foot and by vehicles on all campuses to respond to student complaints and for visibility.

Security at residences
Security Officers are deployed around the female residences at night. Monthly liaison meetings are held between Protection Services with Housing and Residence Affairs to discuss areas of improvement and alternative options to ensure security.

Dedicated Investigating Officers

There is a 24/7 Investigating Officer on standby available to students and staff who has a fully entrenched relationship with the South African Police Service (SAPS) Investigation Unit. All cases are fully investigated, and cases being handled by SAPS investigators are also followed up by Protection Services.
  
Accreditation of off-campus residences
The Housing and Residence Affairs department, in collaboration with Protection Services, has conducted assessments of off-campus student residences to check the adequacy of security measures of the facilities.
 
Student Crime Stop WhatsApp group

A WhatsApp group consisting of students, members of SAPS, the Community Police Forum (CPF), Sector Policing, Protection Services, and armed security companies was set up to share safety and security concerns experienced by students. 

Dedicated security and SAPS vehicles deployed at identified hotspots 
Security patrols are conducted at areas such as Brandwag, Willows and Universitas, where a large number of students live. In addition, joint crime awareness sessions with SAPS are held to address issues that arise from time to time.
 
Distribution of whistles 
The whistle project in collaboration with SAPS, CPF and armed response companies, is currently under way. The UFS has purchased 10 000 whistles which will be distributed to students at all campuses.
 
Community Police Forum (CPF) membership
The UFS is represented on CPF committees. In the near future a CPF will be established on the Bloemfontein Campus to ensure student participation.


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