MEET: Rowan Watson, Manager: Investigations in the Department of Security Services

Posted on April 30, 2021

Rowan Watson tells Tukkievaria about his role in the Department of Security Services and his 23-year-long career at UP.

“As long as we chase perfection as a team, we can achieve excellence.” Rowan Watson tells us about his likes, dislikes and what keeps him motivated.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I obtained a National Diploma in Police Administration in 1996 and graduated with a BA from UP in 2004; I majored in Criminology and Psychology. I was a detective warrant officer for the South African Police Services (SAPS), specialising in morbid scenes, for 11 years. I joined UP in 1998 and have worked here as an investigation manager since. 

What does your day-to-day role entail?

Among other things, I investigate crime in and around the various UP campuses, and deal with student and staff misconduct. I also assist victims of crime, as well as put processes in place to prevent criminal activity from occurring or reoccurring. My role also involves networking with SAPS and outside companies towards a common goal of ensuring a safe work and study environment for our staff and students to flourish in.        

What sort of challenges do you come across and how do you deal with them?

If people obey the rules, society will function cohesively. That is the reality of security services. We need to strive for perfection in terms of safety, which is not easily attained in our contexts. As long as we chase perfection as a team, we can achieve excellence. In every job, improvement is attained through adherence to a set of rules. I believe something magical can happen when we follow institutionally set regulations.

In terms of challenges we face, we find that people are sometimes negligent and don’t take the necessary precautions for their protection. Relational issues are another challenge – people do not realise that for every action in life, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If one cannot handle the reaction, it generally means that we should not carry out the action.    

What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

I enjoy meeting knowledgeable people and learning from them – everyone I meet knows something that I do not know. In this regard, I like to stand on the shoulders of leaders so that I may make an improvement in people’s lives through acquired knowledge. Life is 10% of what is happening to you and 90% of how you react to it when playing a socially responsible role.    

What is your least favourite part of the job?

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. The safety of the UP community and campus property is key.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to go to gym: I train for athletics (throws: discus, shotput, hammer throw, weight throw and javelin) and play squash for fitness. I also go to church, watch sport, detective series and action movies.

What are your personal likes?

I like honesty, integrity, and benevolent, genuine people. I also like to help the less fortunate, especially during the time of COVID-19. I dislike criminal activity and failure caused by an individual. Moreover, I gain strength, courage and confidence through every experience in which I can look fear in the face, and at the end be stronger for having faced it. 

Quick quiz:

Sport: I obtained my provincial colours for rugby and athletics at school, and participated in athletics and rugby in the SAPS. I also obtained my national colours for athletics (throws) in the category 45-50 years and a re-award for the category 50-55 years. 

Food: Fruit and healthy eating

Movies: The Bourne Identity, Transporter, The Fugitive, and any action movie with a good plot.      

Actors: Jason Statham, Harrison Ford, Mark Wahlberg, Will Smith and Mel Gibson    

Musician: Tim McGraw

- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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