In the early days of ‘private contractor’ work in Iraq following the end of the war in 2003, medics were generally unregulated and unregistered, most being ex RMAs (now CMT1s) who had left the military and qualified as HSE Offshore Medics. Some had not done any ‘civilian’ courses but were hired on the strength of their military qualifications and experience; the guys would generally operate as firstly a PSD team member/operator, and secondly as a team medic. In those days the drugs and equipment carried by the medics was very limited; generally, FFDs, quick clot, blast bandages and if you were lucky some morphine auto injectors, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
The term ‘Image Projection’ refers to the tactic of presenting yourself as an Alpha personality in order to discourage a confrontation.
In short, dressing like an Alpha personality prompts respect from people (men and women) and makes you look like a hard target (psychologically).
The first two of these tenets involve soft skills which are sometimes referred to as Protective Intelligence (PI) and include situational and tactical awareness skills (route analysis and surveillance detection). The third tenet, Defend, requires hard skills such as the use of firearms and security driving. These hard skills may be required if we were unable to prevent or avoid an attack, and we end up in a situation where we have to survive an ambush. Continuing where we left off in Part One, we will finish covering some of the soft skills involved in Protective Intelligence and then move on to discuss the hard skills.
We cast our eye over the main stories impacting the security industry. Here’s what’s appeared on the radar since the last issue.
These challenges can take the form of unintentional harm coming by way of a prop, stage equipment, or something as simple as a slip and fall caused by a long dress and high heels.
Whenever we can, we as Protectors must try and anticipate, correcting or counteracting the occurrences that can cause this harm. This is usually done during the Site Advance at which time we do a walk-thru of the areas that the VIP will be visiting, in this scenario, the stage. It is at that time we will perform a visual inspection of the stage and the props, go hands-on with items the Protectee might come into contact with, such as the guard railing, and enlist the help of experts to answer questions that are beyond our realm of expertise, such as how the overhead lights are connected to the scaffolding.
It was the height of British military and government involvement in the ill-fated NATO-led effort to crush the Taliban, and Kabul was inundated with people needing close protection services. From diplomats attempting to build infrastructure and civil institutions to corporate honchos sniffing out potential business opportunities, there was no shortage of clients for security firms to pitch. As my conversation with the in-country manager progressed, I broached the subject of IBGs – individual bodyguards. I told him in no uncertain terms that the idea of having an individual effectively carry out the functions of a close protection team was utter and absolute flannel. His response: “Maybe, Bob. But it brings in the dollars!”
Not because there is less work out there, in fact, the opposite is probably true. With global threat levels at an all-time high, there is more work in the security industry now than there ever has been and the security industry is booming, but it’s harder to find work because there are now thousands more so-called ‘qualified’ CPOs chasing after every position. It is a fact that most licensed operators have never actually done a day’s close protection work in their lives. At the time of writing this article, there are over 14,000 valid, UK, CP licences. Yes, over fourteen thousand people in the UK currently have a license to operate as a Close Protection Officer.
Social media can quickly become all things to all people meaning that one can find exactly what they’re looking for at any time, anywhere, and at the stroke of a key, or swipe of a computer screen. However, the technology can also work against you when someone is negligent in their use or management of it.
Who, when initially looking for a close protection course, tried to find the cheapest course and quickest route possible to your badge? Who researched their training provider and checked out all the credentials and qualifications of their instructors?
Who doesn’t intend to do any other training until they find at least some work to pay back their initial training costs? Who, reading this, has attended an ‘accredited’ training course but has actually never yet done a day’s work as a designated protection officer? I could go on, but well… you get the picture!
Starting out, I was one of the guys that didn’t take the job too serious. However, it was while working in the field, I felt my “calling,” and noticed that here was an opportunity for me to grow in the industry and use my position and access to branch out to create a bigger platform for myself. One thing I can say is as it relates to touring, when musical acts come to town, I see them face the same challenges time and again. As such, I thought it might be appropriate to share some insights that may make life a bit smoother for the next individual or team.