Unit puts pieces of crime puzzle together

22 February 2005

While most staff and students are aware of the presence of Campus Protection Services (CPS) on the university's campuses, few people have heard of the Investi gations Unit.

Housed at the CPS offices at Burnage House on lower campus and part of Risk Management, Properties and Services, this team of five staff members is responsible for investigating all reported crime incidents that occur on UCT premises.

After staff or students have reported an incident, a CPS officer completes a crime report form. "The case file is then allocated to a crime investigator who will attempt to solve the case," explained Steven Ganger, crime investigations manager.

"The crime investigator will visit the crime scene, interview the victim or any witnesses and question possible suspects. They will also follow up any leads and collect evidence," he added.

If no leads are found and the investigator is unable to solve the matter, the case will be closed as undetected.

If sufficient evidence is found against a suspect, charges are drawn up and a disciplinary hearing held for staff members or, if a student is involved, the matter is be referred to the UCT student court for further action.

"The unit has been operating for about 10 years now," said Ganger. "Last year alone we investigated 733 cases. We also work very closely with internal audit and the police. We meet with them once a month and we assist them with various matters."

And as Ganger, who was a detective commander in the police for 17 years, pointed out, some cases are solved within a week, while others can take more time to be resolved.

"I enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together, working at the crime scene from scratch. The satisfaction comes when a case is completed and it ends in a successful prosecution.

"But I've realised over the years that sometimes the 'bad guys' were just better than you on some days and they didn't leave any clues. You can only work with the evidence that is there and not being able to solve a case is sometimes not a poor reflection on you. But I do believe we'll catch them sooner or later."

Ganger's team consists of Patricia du Plessis (Supervisor), Arnold van Wyk, Anthea Hendricks and Eric Mohlaphuli, and they can be contacted on tel 650 2226 or 650 2122 or e-mail sganger@bremner.uct.ac.za.

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