Defining the role of close protection officers
There is a general increase in the demand for close protection services worldwide. CEOs, celebrities, politicians and other influential people require and deserve the services of bodyguards around the clock. Their families and associates similarly, need to be kept safe from perceived or known threats.
We dig deeper into the role of close protection as a whole to understand just what bodyguards are required to do.
The following are the general duties and responsibilities of close protection officers/operatives (CPOs).
Keep their clients from physical harm
Public figures usually attract attention from ordinary members of the public. Politicians, for example, may attract the wrong kind of attention though, because not everyone is a fan of their policies. CPOs are therefore the first line of defense against physical confrontation.
They may have to push, shove or otherwise keep the crowds at a distance. For this reason, they are trained on tactics of crowd control and have to be physically fit. At the same time, they have to do the delicate balancing act of protecting their clients and not assaulting innocent fans.
Maintain the client’s privacy
Bodyguards have to work closely with the organisers of events, public gatherings, and meetings. They need to know what meetings their clients are attending and who else is invited. They may sweep the meeting room for digital recording devices to help keep their clients’ personal affairs secret and confidential.
If you are a CEO, for example, your security detail will secure your accommodation, office and vehicle. Advance planning is essential to avoid challenges such as lack of security equipment, logistics, communication and being overwhelmed by crowds.
Anticipate risks involved around their clients
Enemies, adversaries and aggressive individuals can easily hide along the way or within the premises being accessed by VIPs. It is the role of bodyguards to identify loopholes, seal and keep their clients free from danger.
Security equipment such as cameras, metal detectors and screening equipment usually come in handy before and during events that many unknown people are attending. In anticipating threats, CPOs have to work with the local enforcement officers and security guards at these premises.
Transporting their clients to work and back
Close protection operatives often have to safely move their clients from A to B. Each client or person has their own favorite locations, such as shopping malls, restaurants, stadiums, places of worship and even visiting their loved ones. Bodyguards must be familiar with their habits, frequent locations and routes, including knowing the nearest ‘safe houses’ and emergency services.
Evacuating their clients to safety
VIPs have their needs, just like any other human beings. They can become ill or suffer minor accidents at home, offices and elsewhere. Whenever they come across threats, bodyguards should be quick to rush their clients to safe installations such as police stations, hospitals, and armored vehicles. Defensive driving is an important skill for all close protection officers.
The number of close protection officers attached to a client depends on the threat and risks posed, their profile, status and of course - the budget available. A head of state would obviously need more assets to guard them 24/7. Regardless of the status of the client, all bodyguards have to be thoroughly trained, experienced, fit, of sound mind, sober, trustworthy and highly disciplined.
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