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Understand the difference between different profiles.
Why profile is so important
The pros and cons of the different profiles
There are two very different ways of providing Close Protection. We can either provide it with a high-profile, which leaves no one in any doubt that we are Bodyguards and why we are there. Secondly, we can provide protection with the emphasis on maintaining a low profile so that we do not attract any undue attention. Most of your assignments will probably be a mixture of the two profiles, with only a few being one hundred percent high or low profile
High Profile Protection
This type of protection is the one that most people see, they see it because it’s meant to be seen, it is supposed to have a very high deterring factor and it does. Many of the most controversial and flamboyant rock and pop stars use high profile protection, there is nothing discreet about this protection, the Bodyguards are usually huge and the way that that they position themselves around or in front of their Principal leaves everyone in no doubt about what they are there for.
In many cases the reason for the high profile is to deter fans from getting too close. Fans can be very dangerous; Principals could easily be crushed and hurt by the very people who love them. There is also always the chance that the psychopath is out there posing as a fan and waiting his chance to pounce. Many stars today get the odd dodgy fan; these people seem to turn up for every concert, talk or book-signing. Sometimes one of these fans will cross the line and start stalking the star. Many stars these days want to foster a good relationship with their fans, but there are plenty of others that want to keep fans at a distance, so that a smile or handshake isn’t misinterpreted and turns a fan into a deluded stalker.
Subtle security is not what this type of Principal needs, the security has got to be seen and feared for it to be effective. In this type of scenario the BG’s must have knowledge of working with large crowds, they must be able to plan effectively to get the Principal in and out of ‘hot’ venues, they have to be trained in how to deal with the press that will never be too far away.
On some occasions these ‘stars’ use their high profile Bodyguards to get them the publicity that they always crave. In showbiz, publicity normally always equates to dollars. Let’s say that the Principal wants to go jogging in a public park early in the morning, there is minimum risk if no one knows of the intended jog. They probably will not be recognised, especially if they wear a baggy sweat suit and woollen hat and just have a Bodyguard or two jog with them, and maybe a couple more at a discreet distance behind or strategically placed within the park. But if they want to be recognised they will take a whole protection team out jogging. They will be noisy and they will manhandle anyone who gets in their way. Someone will have invariably leaked it to the press that xyz superstar is jogging in Hyde Park at 7am. This of course increases the risk of anything happening, letting people know where you are going to be is never a good idea. But many Principals are prepared to take on this additional risk, especially those that trust their security team to sort out any trouble.
I recall an incident about a female pop star staying in a very exclusive hotel in the South of France. She enjoyed using her high profile security team to assist in keeping her profile high. This star worked hard at staying fit and decided early one morning she would like a swim in the hotel pool. She dispatched her minders to the pool who found a couple of other hotel (paying) guests enjoying a swim. In a typically aggressive high profile way they asked these people to leave the pool as their client wanted to train alone, after a heated debate the people left the pool but not I hope before they urinated in it! High profile protection does not give you a license to assault or be rude to people. You can be a deterrent and stay within the law, it just requires a little training and professionalism.
Another type of high profile protection can often be seen on our television news. An ambassador or similarly important person visiting a dangerous place is seen surrounded by officers bristling with weapons. They are screaming (metaphorically) “do not mess with us.” In similar high profile assignments the Bodyguards whilst not showing their weapons all have a hand inside a jacket or have bulges in their clothing giving the high-profile impression that they have weapons and are ready for anything.
High profile protection can be much easier to learn than low profile, many high profile protection assignments on the C and D list celebrities are carried out by doormen, bodybuilders and ninja types with no training whatsoever and they cope quite well (as long as nothing goes wrong!) Generally if you are big and ugly enough look the part and have a bit of common sense, high profile protection will come much easier than low profile. Many untrained officers work on high profile assignments, and a lot of these will have drifted into the industry from working the doors as a bouncer. However these people will almost always be found wanting just when their Principal needs them most.
Low Profile Protection
Good low profile protection is almost an art form, you have to apply good training with copious amounts of common sense, it is not just a matter of being there and looking “Well Hard” as in most cases of high profile.
You probably see Bodyguards working all the time, almost on every news bulletin if you know what to look for you can see these ordinary looking boys and girls doing their job. Many will ‘see’ them but do not necessarily ‘notice’ them. Once you are in the business you will see Bodyguards working everywhere. A good Close Protection Officer maintaining a low profile will be synonymous with his Principal and the situation they are in. They will always be in the right place at the right time. They will not be ‘showing out’ or giving anyone any menacing stares, but they will be providing just as much protection than their high-profile counterpart.
Outside of the ranks of the famous film TV and rock personalities most people require their security to be a little more subtle. They do not want any lesser protection in fact in most cases they require rather more protection, as their threats may be more real. However they realise that they may well bring unwelcome attention upon themselves if they go everywhere with a big wall of muscle, dark-glasses and gun.
Big Bodyguards on high profile assignments do provide plenty of deterrent value.
However, pound for pound, fat ones do not
A considerable number of film, rock and pop stars will always require protection and as luck would have it they can afford it. There are many Close Protection Officers, the world over, that would do anything to get on the security detail of any of the Hollywood A list; far too many than there are jobs for. However you should realise that for every famous user of Close Protection there are hundreds of other users. Most of these are not famous at all outside of their own business environments or community. Importantly most of these people do not want high profile showbiz style protection. They want low profile professionals.
You should really only adopt a high profile went absolutely necessary. In many countries of the world you are much safer when you keep a low profile and go about your business unnoticed. Sometimes the decision is not easily reached. Let’s say that you are working in a country with a high risk of a kidnap. You need to decide whether the best way to avoid being kidnapped is for the Personal Escort Section to look well-armed and ready. Or should you and your Principal adopt such a low profile that you would not be considered as being a kidnap target. Experience has shown is that very often the best way in a situation such as this is to adopt a position between the two profile extremes? There is far more work available outside of celebrities and show business and it is here where most people will work.