If you take the four areas that are part of the traditional military model: gymnastics/calisthenics (bodyweight exercise), outdoor obstacle courses (moving efficiently through a range of environments), combat sports (boxing, grappling etc), speed marching (bipedal locomotion); these intrinsically include the main focus physical qualities: mobility, strength, reaction speed, coordination, balance and cardiorespiratory function. If these areas are incorporated into a physical fitness programme, treated as a skill and kept in the majority at a low/medium intensity with bouts of high intensity, the result will be a well-rounded human capable of thriving in the diversities of the modern life.
From an operational perspective, CPs need to go back to fundamentals and apply the golden rules of protection planning and risk assessments to medical scenarios. For instance, from a strategy perspective, many HNW bought ventilators only to later discover that they would never be delivered due to shortage. So, it’s important to think how do we improve our planning and strategy from the outset to account for the unexpected? Scenarios and risks should be assessed as always in a well thought out threat matrix.
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.
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.
By far the best method to accomplish this goal is to adopt a predictive, preventative strategy for protecting clients based on the tenets of Detect, Deter, and Defend. To effectively employ these tenets, we need some very specific soft and hard skills. In the protective operations world, the “soft” skills are sometimes referred to as Protective Intelligence (PI) while in other security disciplines they are referred to as situational and tactical awareness skills. If we are unable to prevent or avoid an attack, we need to have some expertise in specific “hard” skills such as use of firearms and security driving so that we can survive an ambush.
The ‘tactical culture’ had flourished over the last few years, mainly due to the proliferation of video cameras and increasing engagement with social media platforms, which I believe is causing the lines between reality and the ‘tacticool’ entertainment world to become very, very blurred…
It takes very little these days to be a part of the tactical sub-culture that is trending, here’s how to do it. Simply, purchase a gun, where legal, get your hands on some tactical clothing, buy a bunch of ‘black op’ accessories, plug into ‘Soldier of Fortune’ social-media channels and perhaps even take some no-fail tactical training courses, then after a few months, hey presto, you’re an expert! Whereas, in the good old days, the only option, if you wanted this lifestyle, was to join the military – preferably the Infantry!
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!
Signal uses phone numbers to identify contacts, however encrypted messages and calls use a data connection with a secure tunnel between participants. Intervening servers or infrastructure do not have access to the encryption keys, and so cannot realistically eavesdrop on any communications even if compromised. On Android Signal can be set up to replace your default text message client, and will handle unencrypted SMS messages as well.
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.