Student perceptions of security services at UKZN.
Security is a condition which is created by the conscious provision and application of physical security measures for the protection of persons, property and information. The security of students at universities and technikons for administrators constitutes a challenge and an obligation in creating and maintaining an environment that is conducive to teaching, learning and research. Literature on security and security management abounds from a business perspective, however, very little exists regarding security management at universities. In order to address and add to the literature, this study was conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) amongst students on all five of its campuses. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions that students have of security at the UKZN by way of their experience, interactions and observations. The questions that the study sought to answer was “do students feel safe at UKZN and what corrective measures can be taken to make them feel safer?” The objectives set out in the study were designed specifically to identify the factors that could improve service delivery and change the way that security, in its entirety, is managed at the UKZN. A qualitative study was conducted based on a random sample of students from the five campuses. An electronic questionnaire was emailed to all registered students of the university. The sample comprised of 407 valid respondents. The study showed that whilst a marginal majority of students felt safe, a large proportion of students felt unsafe. The study shows that students were dissatisfied with the service and found the security officers to be incompetent and un-trained. One crucial aspect that emerged from the study is that resources were not utilized to their fullest and the perception of the majority of students was that security personnel were not functioning in the way that they should. It is recommended that resources are used optimally, rather than adding more resources, security staff require more training, contract security need to undergo ongoing induction and orientation to comply with UKZN security policies and procedures. Better security services inevitably adds value to the institution in that it lowers the university’s insurance risk profile, it attracts investment, and if security is managed effectively UKZN becomes the institution of choice for parents and prospective students.
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