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.
If you’ve spent enough time around executive protection professionals, you’re no doubt familiar with the concept of creating a bubble around a protectee. It seems simple enough, right? Create the protocols, vet those with which the protectee interacts, and stringently direct the protectee’s activities without deviation.
In reality, of course, creating a safe environment for those elected officials, business leaders and celebrities who require protection by statute, board decree, or simply because they attract unwanted attention is an enormously challenging task that requires tremendous flexibility and innovation from those responsible. Let’s be honest — while many people who require such protection for their own safety understand and appreciate the necessity, they, including some past and current U.S. Presidents, are not always cooperative when faced with security limitations.
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.
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.
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.
A man on a motorbike cruises into the hotel grounds and pulls up close behind the SUV when the bodyguard places himself between the woman and the attacker.
Cybersecurity is often seen as a niche area which requires a lot of specialist knowledge to apply. This is partly true – in order to configure a web application firewall someone needs to understand how to work with the technology at a very low level. What is often missed, as the technologists take over, is that cyber is still security and the same fundamental principles apply to designing and building effective protections.
People go to church for all kinds of reasons but almost no one goes to find trouble. The ones that do go for that purpose are the reason your church has a security team or ministry. Unfortunately, over the last twenty years “Trouble” has been finding its way into church for the simple reason that for the most part, we welcome it. Church is still the place that welcomes anyone in any condition to come to find help.