If I had £1 for every time someone has said to me that there is no work in the close protection industry, I would be retired in a quiet little cottage overlooking the sea.
There’s no denying that security and close protection work is mentally and emotionally demanding. Life-threatening situations, exposure to graphic scenes, distressed individuals, and violent perpetrators as well as the occupational stressors such as unsocial working hours and being away from home mean you need to be operating at peak levels of resilience.
Situational Awareness is “the perception of the elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning and the projection of their status in the near future”.
For many years good friends of ours in the close protection and military sectors have said to us that what is really needed whilst transporting their clients and personnel is the ability to carry out an emergency rescue immediately following a vehicle incident whether it is accidental or a deliberate attack on their vehicles, some of which, may be armored presenting even further rescue difficulties.
If you are a professional user of traditional ‘push to talk’ two-way radio communications, this will fundamentally change the way you view the use of your radios.
One important thing to realize is that the principal is the key figure in shaping the culture. Not all principals are the same. I have experience of principals that don’t want to see or hear the protectors.
Many people spending more time online this past year due to COVID-19 lockdown and isolation has created limited options of socialization, forcing people to a record amount of screen time on the internet and social media. Much more than ever before.
To clarify, the commercial close protection industry is challenging for most people to enter, mainly because it is a very small and ‘cliquey’ world where doors usually open for people if they know the right people. So, to start with, networking is a valuable key to opening the doors.
My professional experience with firearms started when I was 17 years old, and I joined an Infantry Regiment in the British Army. After leaving the British Army five years later, I worked in an armed capacity in numerous countries while providing security services.
Mike Brown is one of those individuals who has found success as an operator by envisioning where he wanted to end up and trusting the process to take him there. In his time in the industry, he has earned his stripes and now reaps the rewards running a successful business and managing the protective detail for a very well-known public figure. I speak to Mike to learn some of his keys to success.
My principals’ ages have also ranged from 4 to 65 years old. Amongst them all, I personally believe the most challenging principals are children. For me, the role of a bodyguard caring for a minor is all about balance, judgment, adaptation and a crystal-clear understanding of the parents’ wishes.
Most of us have experienced the disappointment of purchasing an item or service at full price only to find the same item from the same provider days later for substantially less money. When this happens, it doesn’t take much to figure out that the seller was offering the item far above market value in the first place. Whenever this happens, you immediately feel taken advantage of. This is the same thing that occurs in your client’s mind when they realize your rates were always open to a downward adjustment.
William Shakespeare said, “Defer no time, Delays have dangerous ends”. What we do now in these trying times, we will either profit from or suffer from. Why is it that some survive these times in our industry, and some do not? What steps can be taken to avoid a crisis in your employment status?
Now, here me out. If you’re managing security projects it’s only a matter of time before you’ll have to deal and work with security personnel, bodyguards, and drivers that are not part of your team or company. Dealing with unknown personnel can be very problematic due to their potential lack of professionalism and egos.
As the President-Elect wrapped up his speech, now joined onstage by his extended family, my attention was on the members of the United States Secret Service who were close by. I thought of these men and the job that they were tasked to do. Not knowing them personally, I wasn’t aware of their political affiliations, were they a Democratic like Biden, or a Republican, rooting for the current President, Trump? They, like every other citizen of the country, were allowed to cast their votes, and could have picked either, or none. However, at that moment, on that stage, I don’t think it mattered. These agents, surely knowing the risk associated with the occasion, were focused on the task at hand: The safety of their protective charges, no matter their personal political affiliation.
Counter Surveillance is defined as the actions that a person (or team) carries out, in order to detect that a person (Principal) is under surveillance and to identify the composition and makeup of a hostile surveillance team.
In this article, Pete Jenkins talks through the key principles of a counter-surveillance operation.
There needs to be a healthy relationship with your clients, you don’t want to let them dominate you, and you don’t want to try to dominate and control them.
Boundaries must always be made clear as this works to protect you and your client’s interests. Clients are not your friends, they are clients paying you to provide them with a service, and if boundaries are ignored, it can undermine any respect in the business relationship.
What were some takeaways you obtained from your past line of work? And how have they helped you in the private sector realm?
When I look at the totality of what we do in this industry there are quite a few takeaways. From having dealt with the irate couples during a domestic dispute to negotiating a business deal the importance of not only verbal judo but communicative and interpersonal skills tops the list, followed by the skills I learned from collecting evidence at a crime scene where attention to detail was key.
In the context of close protection work, the use of firearms is often an all or nothing proposition. In most cases, you are either armed, or you’re not! There is a whole host of things that play into that, be it where you are, your level of certification, or the demands the client puts on you. All of that aside, I wanted to take some time and dig into the finer things, often overlooked when we talk about “strapping up.” Ammunition!
There’s something to be said about the art of reading people, especially in the protection industry. The ability to pick up on nonverbal communication is an area where most, if not all, protection practitioners are skilled.