Close Protection in London
Security experts estimate that 95% of all close protection operations in the UK, start in/or are conducted within London and the Greater London region. With Kensington, Knightsbridge, Mayfair the City of London and Surrey being the hotspots for close protection teams to operate. Generally the work is seasonal, with the influx of tourists from around the world, flocking to London during the summer months to escape the intense heat of their home nations, and to sample the famous cosmopolitan lifestyle that London offers.
What is Close Protection?
In layman’s terms; close protection (CP) is a term used to describe the manned security provided to a person to protect them from physical harm, theft or kidnap. Ensuring their personal safety and security from the threats and risks posed to them. The term given to the manned security is ‘close protection operatives’ (CPO’s) more commonly known as ‘bodyguards’ (BG’s) The person whom is being protected is generally referred to as a ‘principal’. The principal may employ a number of bodyguards depending on the threat posed to them and their family, the collective term for this is ‘close protection team’ (CPT).
Who needs close protection in London?
There are no prerequisites to be afforded protection from bodyguards in London. If a person, family or business feels the requirement for additional personal security, then they will seek to employ the services of a private security company. The security company will liaise with the principal or their PA and establish the reasons why they feel the need for personal protection. The security company will immediately act upon the principals concerns by providing the requested manpower and electronic counter measures if required, then investigate further. A threat and risk analysis report will be compiled, utilising private investigators in London to establish any threats and the risks posed to the principal, their family and their interests. Once the threat has been established, surveillance may be conducted to monitor it, their capabilities and the risk posed by it/them. The security company will then be in a better position to advise the principal and put in place the relevant risk management measures. Be it physical manned guarding, electronic counter measures or a combination of the two.
Then and only then will the security be effective. – Establish the threat and risks, monitor it, and put in place relevant countermeasures to manage it. The old adage; ‘fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’, certainly applies.
The Principals Security is your Principle
A principal is the person being provided personal security, they come in all shapes and sizes, as do CPO’s – but we will discuss this later on. There are 2 main different types of principals; those that need security, and those that think they do. The latter generally being more demanding than the first. Those who need bodyguards may include royalty, heads of state, celebrities, sports personalities, company CEO’s, successful business people and court witnesses. These principals generally like to keep a low profile and take on board any expert security advice given. Principals that ‘think’ they need bodyguards who may not actually need them, may want them as a status symbol, to display wealth and importance, where there is no direct threat against them. This attracts a lot of undue attention by undesirables and by having bodyguards, actually increases the risk of attacks, be it verbal or physical, towards them. This type of principal generally disregards any sort of security advice in favour of their own clouded judgement. However, regardless of who the principal is, the threat and risks posed to them, their age, sex, religion/beliefs or career. Should not negatively affect a CPO’s professionalism and the quality of security provided to them.
Duties of a close protection operative (CPO) or bodyguard
As a bodyguard in London, you will be required to operate in a number of roles within a close protection team. As your career progresses, you will discover which role you are best suited to, focus on this and be the best you can. Be the person on speed dial for close protection team leaders across London. Continue to train and qualify yourself in other areas of close protection, making yourself highly employable. Some of the roles that you might be expected to operate in, include:
Close Protection Operative (Bodyguard)
Team member, ie. A CPO within a team. An Individual Bodyguard (IBG) or Personal Protection Operative (PPO), where you operate on a 1-1 basis with your principal. A team 2ic, you will assist the team leader and step up in their absence. And finally a team leader (TL), a position reserved generally for the most senior or most experienced member of the team.
Residential Security Team (RST)
As the name suggests, your duties will be to secure the principals residence day or night. This may be a hotel room or sprawling country estate. Both situations are very different, however the same principles apply, just adapted slightly depending on your surroundings. Residential security in London should be provided 24 hours a day, with day and night shifts lasting 12 hours each.
Surveillance / Counter Surveillance
When providing close protection in London as part of a larger team, you may be expected to conduct counter surveillance. Observing the close protection team from a distance, looking into and around their environment, looking for anyone watching your team, keeping note of people and vehicles that keep appearing at the same places the team is. Once spotted, it is your job to disrupt that surveillance, enabling your team to lose the surveillance.
Security Chauffeur / Close Protection Driver
Close Protection Teams in London usually operate a 2 vehicle convoy, the front vehicle being the VIP car, transporting your principal in a luxury saloon. And the rear vehicle usually a powerful 4×4, which the CP team travel in. If a professional security chauffeur is not employed, you may be required to chauffeur the principal, or drive the security car – the 2 driving styles required for each of the vehicles, is very different, hence ‘chauffeur’ and ‘drive’. Both tasks require a lot of skill, the convoy must remain as one, with both drivers fully aware of the others next move, and everything else on the road. Road moves are the single most dangerous part of any close protection operation. The embus & debus of the vehicle, and whilst the vehicles are in motion, is the time when most attacks or accidents occur. Therefore, it is imperative that CPO’s undergo advanced driver training, and continue to practise their vehicle drills. Unfortunately, a skill which is overlooked and seriously lacking in many bodyguards, which can have drastic and even fatal consequences.
Westminster Security Close Protection Service
Westminster Security provide a premier close protection service in London and throughout the world. We deploy former British Military Close Protection experts from the Royal Military Police – Close Protection Unit, Special Air Service and specialist former Police protection officers of the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection units. As well as former British Military personnel who have undertaken rigorous training and excel in their chosen field of security.
For more information on our Close Protection services, please contact us.
If you feel you meet our high standards and criteria for employment, please complete our online application.
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