PROFESSIONAL CLOSE PROTECTION SERVICES
Not many clients taking advantage of protection-oriented services are aware of how difficult and complex they are to realize. The majority of the secured subjects-to-be think that all it takes is to call a desired private security company, order an hour protection, and specify the cost of the whole undertaking. After the specification of the basic needs and criteria, the decisive moment in communication between the client and the firm takes place. The latter may, of course, decide to accept the placed order and send a security guard to protect the interested person in a non-recognized area. However, in such a case, the amount of key pieces of information that are necessary for a satisfactory service provision is insufficient. The other option is to comply with the code of conduct of the company and resort to asking all kinds of possible questions such as: „Who is to be protected? Where? With whom? In what manner?” Only then is it possible to accurately identify the threat to client’s safety and decide on initiating a given operational plan. Answers to the aforementioned questions grant the possibility to properly create an operational paradigm, specify the number of required protection teams, identify applicable tactics, advise behavioral patterns, set transportation routes, and agree on means of transport to be utilized.
Unfortunately, many companies neglect the advised code of conduct and appoint unskilled security guards to protect their clients. The latter are also not familiar with the operational paradigm that should be followed, mainly because their knowledge is based on action movies seen in TV. For a number of subjects and guards, all the key actions are those which are considered absolute minimum by factual professionals.
Private security should be directly associated with a set of tasks and activities that must be performed to ensure a satisfactory security of VIP in terms of his or her health condition, life, and the safety of his or her possessions. Furthermore, proper care must be exercised to minimize the negative effects of such unexpected occurrences as, for example, fainting.
Not many people are fully aware of the fact that in order to prepare a factual plan of private security, weeks or even months of constant cooperation of protection experts are needed. They include hours of conversations with the client, his or her environment, observation of his or her surroundings, as well as interviews with people working or staying in such places. A worker responsible for the creation of a protection plan and a “protection officer” that will be directly liable for the safety of the client must be both perfectly familiar with all the problems he or she struggles with. The said knowledge includes data on his or her health condition, illnesses, allergies, and preferences. What is more, experts must know what people have the access to the client, if they have been threatening him or her, and what their occupations are. It is only a fraction of data that must be collected directly from the client, as well as from his or her partner, lover, children, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors, etc. It must be remembered, however, that a personal protection expert has to follow a strict ethic code and keep all the gathered pieces of information fully confidential. Only then can he ensure the safety of both his client and the experts he has been cooperating with and who have been involved in realizing safety-related undertakings.
To elaborate on the time consuming character of the preparatory activities connected with client protection, it must be highlighted that five members of the Protection Bureau had spent entire four weeks to create a protection plan of a client before his three-day visit to one of bigger countries in Europe was initiated.
Protection plan should include, among others: - operation or protection-related action initiation date, - operation tactics, - safety measures implemented in both temporary and permanent places of stay, - fire safety principles, - chemical and biological protection measures, - available transportation routes, - vehicle securing methods, - detailed description of the place of stay together with the identification of threats and methods of their prevention, - detailed scenario of stay in each of the places, - medical protection measures, - means of transportation, - methods of luggage protection, - operational schemes to be applied in the case of unexpected events, such as attack, fire, etc., - operation finishing date.
Some protected subject are not aware that a savior from private seciurity company never works alone. A professional never agrees to protect a VIP on his own, as he would be then required to serve all the possible roles: the ones of a bodyguard expert, driver, luggage porter, and footman. A person willing to be protected must be aware that: - he or she must be secured by at least few guards, - one life-savior will not carry his or her luggage, purse, etc., - car driving must be appointed to professionals that have been trained in the said regard, - security guards are not required to drive a car except of emergency cases, - aside from vehicle and personal security, there are also other sections, such as: intelligence, anti-intelligence, anti-sniper, communication, sanitary, and chemical/biological ones personal protection experts have properly chosen communication devices and firearms at their disposal, - aside from the license, experts employed to protect the client have other certificates certifying their other abilities and skills, - at least some of the guards are proficient users of one or more foreign languages, allowing for a relatively unconstrained communication, - true professional is never fully satisfied with what he has achieved and trains further, - all the aforementioned issues are costly, as it is impossible to be properly secured for a relatively low price. The client has to acknowledge that the cheaper the price of protection-related service provision is, the higher the risk of its failure, mainly due to insufficient training or lack of professional preparation. On the other hand, a bodyguard who has just received the license should not be engaged in tasks that may end up being too demanding for him and as a result – endanger the life and health of both the VIP and himself. It must be remembered though that sometimes there are values that are dearer to the client than the loss of health of risk of being attacked. His or her personal image and possessions should be taken care of and secured properly in order for the service to be assessed as the one that has been provided professionally and in a satisfactory manner. Both the subject and the security guard must be aware that the attack may not always be of physical manner, as it is in the case of shooting, planting a bomb, using a poison, or assaulting the VIP with a knife. The attack may also have the form of gossiping, unfair statement releasing, disclosing details of one’s professional or personal life, etc.
All the parties involved must come to terms with the fact that if there is the need to realize certain emergency or rescue actions, there has been a failure in the proper preparation of the operation plan. A security guard does not need to act like a Terminator, Hercules, or other heroes known from the silver screen. Firstly, he must think before acting. Secondly, he works in a team and depends on the actions of other members of it. Thirdly, he must keep all the pieces of information gathered about the client confidential regardless of the cost. Fourthly, the bodyguard must bear in mind that winning thousand battles is not the factual victory, as to be truly victorious he must be capable of destroying not only the enemy but also – its strategy. Fifthly, a dead bodyguard will surely not receive any payment for the services he tried to provide. Sixthly, the entire protection plan, no matter how complex or meticulously created, is as effective as its weakest point is. Seventhly, if something is likely to fail, it will probably fail. Eighthly, the plan is created in such a manner to allow for certain amendments and changes, the introduction of which may in some cases be the responsibility of the security guard. Finally – the personal protection expert must look ordinarily, wear typical clothes, and not stand out from the crowd, unless there is the necessity to expose his true identity. Another important aspect sometimes neglected by both the client ant the security guard is that on some occasions it is highly advised to allow for the actions undertaken by the so-called “cleaning section” which is responsible for destroying or changing details concerning VIP’s identity and his or her future places of stay. To sum up, it may be stated that there are not many professionals among bodyguards and not many clients are daring enough to pay for a comprehensive security-oriented service. Furthermore, even if a personal protection expert has achieved significant results in general protection or military actions, it does not mean that he will be a competent bodyguard. One must also bear in mind that a protective action is a set of security-related tasks executed by a team of professionals, not by a team of strong but mindless men hopelessly trying to secure the subject. The client has to remember that a bodyguard is not a luggage carrier, nor is he a driver responsible for performing client’s daily chores. Moreover, being a bodyguard is based on one’s safety, not a means of showing off. To be delivered in an effective manner, it must be costly, as it requires the coordination of a number of professionals fully aware of their tasks, responsibilities, and privileges. According to theoretical and practical considerations presented in the literature of the subject, attack may not always be physical in character, but it may also have the form of disclosing client’s personal information, failed investments, details from his or her private life, etc.
Professionalism is the key when it comes to close protection and it must be by all means remembered by all the parties involved.