As any sensible person will know, reading a book or web page about martial arts will not make you a competent martial artist. Likewise, this text will not turn you into a Close Protection officer. To become a professional Close Protection officer you need to attend a formal course in Close Protection from a recognised provider, pass examinations and then gain valuable on the job experience. Experience is impossible for a book to provide, but this book allows you to benefit from the vast experience of its contributing authors and it contains everything you need to know to pass a course. It will also serve as a reference book for those that have qualified and are already working in the industry.
A text of facts and expert opinion
This is a book of facts, information and expert opinion. It is not an exposé of Bodyguard’s secrets. There are no ‘professional secrets’ in the Bodyguard industry; anyone that tells you that there are such secrets is probably a Walter Mitty type. (Walter Mitty is a fictional meek, mild man with a vivid fantasy life.) Good Close Protection is achieved through the application of a few ground rules, hard work and copious amounts of common sense, which in my experience is certainly not common! Unfortunately, neither this book nor the very best course can teach common sense! This is an attribute that a candidate must turn up with.
In recent years, there has been a bit of snobbery in the Close Protection industry. Operators who called themselves Bodyguards were looked down upon as if they were in some way inferior or unprofessional. Plenty of Bodyguards when getting married have probably recorded any number of job titles under the ‘occupation column’ such as Close Protection Officer (CPO), Executive Protection Officer (EPO), Personal Protection Specialist (PPS), Personal Protection Professional (PPP) or Personal Protection Officer (PPO). Any name except Bodyguard.In this text we use the terms ‘Close Protection’ (CP) and talk about Close Protection Officers (CPOs), but we will also use the word Bodyguard – and why not? Bodyguards have been called Bodyguards for over a thousand years, so why stop now?
Many people, if you asked them to describe a Bodyguard, will conjure up an image of that large gorilla/gangster-like character, with fat fingers festooned with heavy gold rings. An intimidating figure that speaks in words of one syllable, clearing people out of the path of his client with a grunt and an elbow rather than an ‘excuse me’, and looking like he couldn’t run twenty yards without stopping to catch breath.
Some think that all Bodyguards are secret service or 007 types in expensive suits with gadgets and guns galore
In addition, many people think that the security staff that they see at music or boxing events are Bodyguards. These people are not Bodyguards; they may well be trained in crowd management functions and may work part-time as bouncers in bars and clubs, but they are not Bodyguards. Others might think that Bodyguards are secret service or 007 types in expensive suits with gadgets and guns galore. They would also be wrong. The reasons for people having these popular misconceptions are not hard to find. The heavies employed in advertising, exhibitions and soap style television are purposely easy to spot. Their already high profile is often over emphasised.
The man in the street ‘sees’ real Bodyguards working every day, if not in the flesh then on the television news. Seeing them is one thing but realising that they are security professionals is another. They are seen but not noticed because they strive to maintain a low profile. Not only do they look normal, their suit fits and their knuckles don’t drag along the ground! The reasons that professionals can go unnoticed is discussed elsewhere in this book, but suffice it to say, they do not look like the public’s idea of a Bodyguard and this actually helps them as they go about their days work.
Because people generally expect the gorilla type of Bodyguard, it is not uncommon for professional Close Protection officers to be told “you’re too nice, too small, too tall, too short, or even too pretty to be a Bodyguard”. (The author has never been called pretty!) Very often, the Bodyguard blends into the background of his client’s business and social schedule, and he is always trying not to draw any undue attention to himself or his client. Being of normal build and stature can help in this situation. Sometimes, a low profile is not as important and I have known some excellent Bodyguards who look exactly like the stereotypical Bodyguard – big, menacing guys (and a few girls) whose presence screams, “Do not mess with me or mine!” The reason, though, that these people were excellent professionals is because they have intelligence to match their stature.
So, who are these modern Bodyguards that we generally do not notice, and what makes them so special? The twenty-first century Bodyguard is often found in a smart but neutrally toned business suit, presenting a discreet and subdued image to the outside world. He is a highly skilled and motivated individual, constantly assessing potential risks and weighing these against his skills and the measures he must take to minimise them. He is fit, not overweight, and an expert in first aid, fire fighting, defensive driving, weapon systems, unarmed combat and communication skills. He will be well trained in all of the skills and drills that he uses daily to safeguard the peace of mind and maybe the life of his principal.
One could be forgiven for thinking that there are jobs everywhere for this new breed of Bodyguard and everyone who is only a little bit rich or famous uses them. The truth is that there are not enough good Bodyguard jobs out there for all the ‘Bodyguards’ that want to be one. In contrast, there are not enough ‘good’ Bodyguards out there for all of the jobs that need doing! It is rare for a team leader of a CP operation to be one hundred percent happy with all of his team; there are always members that are close to losing their jobs. The team leader is always getting rid of poor performers and people who do not ‘gel’ with the team, or at least confining them to night shifts ‘in the garden’. There are just not enough good Bodyguards to go around, and who really wants to hire a bad or indifferent one?
The Bodyguard is concerned with all aspects of security throughout his working day. By contrast, his client will hardly devote any time to security at all. At the highest level, the client is at best only dimly aware that the service is being provided, let alone that they are the entire focus of it. Flexibility and quick thinking, along with good advance work and lots of common sense all play their part.
There is something about the way a good Bodyguard will position himself, his presence, his demeanor, the eye contact and positive movement, these are all extremely reassuring to his clients. Clients that are confident in the ability of the Bodyguard are a pleasure to work with. A professional relationship develops and both Bodyguard and client go about their business, neither interfering with the other’s function. They become a team.
The Mark of a good bodyguard is that he Keeps a level head in a crisis, reassess the situation and then embarks on the correct next course of action.
In an ideal situation, whether working ‘one on one’ or as part of a team, everyone will be at the right place at the right time. No one will ever lose the keys to the client’s car, the car will never break down, it won’t rain when you’ve forgotten the umbrella and the principal won’t oversleep. You’ll never get lost en route, you’ll never get unexpected visitors, the battery on your mobile phone will never die and you’ll never hit fog when you’re late. The hotel will always be expecting you, your driver won’t oversleep, you’ll always have the right map, the radio range will be miles, you’ll never bleed on your clean shirt and the principal will never change his mind. The plane won’t be early or late, you’ll eat three meals a day, customs won’t stop the team and wave the principal through and you’ll always know what’s happening next. Ideal situations do happen, but not by accident. They must be made to happen. The Bodyguard makes good things happen and stops bad things happening.
Even with the best planning things can go wrong, and it is the mark of a good Bodyguard that he keeps a level head in a crisis, reassesses the situation and then embarks on the correct next course of action. It’s not easy but that’s what the training is for and every assignment you complete builds experience and confidence until getting it right becomes the norm.
This text will show you exactly what you need to do to become a first class Close Protection Officer. It will point you towards and show you how to select the very best training and provide you with the knowledge you need to pass your course with distinction. Even after your training, this text becomes the bible for all your subsequent assignments and will be a constant reference companion.