Contribution of records management to the discharge of security and protection services at the University of Botswana
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, www.ub.bw
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This work focuses on records management practices at the University of Botswana Protection Services Unit. The Protection Services Unit which is mandated to protect lives and University property may fail to bring justice to criminal actions if there is a poor records management practices. The study used the interpretive research paradigm and also adopted a deductive qualitative approach. Face to face interviews and observation techniques were used to collect data. Purposive and convenience sampling were used to collect data from security officers working at the UB-PSU, Sentinel Security Company and Intap Security Services (the latter two being outsourced service providers), therefore data was collected from 32 participants as per the data saturation point. Thematic analysis method was adopted together with the use of a qualitative data analysis software called QDA Miner Lite. Whereas Microsoft Excel was used to produce statistics pertaining to demographic details of the participants. The findings of the study revealed that, UB-PSU has done well in providing the necessary resources/tools for the creation and capturing of data, the metadata scheme is comprehensive enough to capture all details needed to trace a crime event and there is a small registry to store case files. However, the management has failed to implement a records management policy, retention and disposal schedule, documented classification scheme, disaster preparedness plan and a records management unit which will ensure efficient and effective records management activities in the Protection Services Unit. The records storage standards are not met as there are no file cabinets and no professionally trained records managers, thus inhibiting proper creation, maintenance, control, use of records, integrity, reliability, access control and comprehensive management of records as mandated by ISO 15489. The study therefore, recommends that UB-PSU should consider developing a holistic records management programme which encompasses, a proper records a management unit, records management policies and procedures, retention and disposal schedule, disaster preparedness plan and professional training of investigators dealing with records. In addition, it is also recommended for UB-PSU to implement an electronic records management systems which will enhance access and retrieval of records, thereby improving service delivery. In conclusion, it is evident that security records at UB-PSU are well managed to a certain extent. However, there is risk to loss of records due to improper storage, lack of guiding policies and poor access controls. Thus, the investigations personnel should be accountable should there be any loss of records. Should the UB-PSU fail to implement the necessary records management tools such as the records management policy, retention and disposal schedule, classification scheme and trained records management personnel, the security unit is likely going to face challenges in terms of unauthorized access, loss of records and consequently poor service delivery. Quality and timely decision making will also be hindered if records are missing or not well kept as according to professional standards. As a result, there will be obstruction to justice due to lack of evidence and protection of human rights will also be inhibited.