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Executive Close Protection

Posted by Martin Banks on Friday, April 16, 2021 Under: Close Protection
Executive Close Protection. For many industries, security is of paramount importance and must encompass not only the safeguarding of staff and assets but also the individual protection of company directors and CEOs in a variety of contexts. Close protection, known as executive protection in the UK, is the service within the security industry that provides trained and licensed security professionals to ensure the safety of such high-profile individuals.

When sourcing close protection services, ensuring that the close protection officers (CPOs) protecting you is licensed and works to appropriate standards is paramount. Consequently, any close protection company employed should be compliant with the British Standard 8507, which covers close protection operations inside and outside the UK. This ensures that the credentials of a CPO are closely looked at and that they have the skills and training to carry out their role to the required level. With their high profiles, CEOs need to know they are in safe hands and these checks help to ensure that.

"With their high profiles, CEOs need to know they are in safe hands."

Licensing is key for CPOs and due to the industry's approach to it, the UK's close protection sector has an excellent reputation around the world and has been established as the place where the protection of high-profile individuals, such as CEOs, can be confidently assured. This was demonstrated when a British Security Industry Association (BSIA) member was approached by a client who was closing a production plant in a European country and wanted to ensure that the CEO was safe while he was there to address the workforce. The BSIA member provided a low-profile personal protection officer and a covert team mingling with the workforce to identify any hostile elements and respond if required.

Everyone who intends to work in the UK as a close protection (CP) operator must be licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). They must prove their identity and right to work, demonstrate that they have successfully completed an approved qualification, be qualified in first aid and pass a criminal record check. This also applies to a CPO who comes from abroad to work in the UK. Despite the laws in their own country, it is illegal for anyone to provide CP services in the UK without a correct licence.

Carrying firearms

Unlike the US, CPOs in the UK are not allowed to carry firearms. This is also the case when they are operating overseas. (The only exceptions are when UK CPOs are operating in Afghanistan and Iraq or in some instances parts of Africa and South America.) With this is mind, UK CPOs rely on countermeasures, which ensure their clients' and assets' risk is significantly reduced and appropriate measures are implemented. This reinforces the professionalism of close protection and demonstrates the high standards of the British close protection industry. CPOs coming from outside the UK are not permitted to carry firearms even if they are able to carry them in their home country.

In order to successfully provide protection, comprehensive planning is needed and a CPO will undertake meticulous research to understand the threats and risks that face their client. A CPO will, wherever possible, prepare an itinerary. Depending on the itinerary and the size of the close protection team and Security Advance Party (SAP) - which might be just one individual – the CPO would ensure that intended and alternative routes, venues and hotels are thoroughly checked to guarantee that both smooth and safe passage and places are safeguarded against compromise. Furthermore, this will enable the CPO to liaise with the venue management, identify alternative entrances and exits and fully understand the environment.

One BSIA member had a client who needed to hold a series of very confidential meetings over three days, in a time of intense pressure during a hostile takeover bid. The BSIA member's personnel worked with the client's team in selecting the venue hotel and the travel arrangements. Prior to the arrival of the senior management, all meeting and hotel rooms were swept for bugs and then secured. The participants were all picked up and brought in along routes, which allowed anti-surveillance teams to ensure that they were not followed. All access to the meeting rooms was controlled on a 24-hour basis and the hotel and its grounds were monitored for anyone showing undue interest in the clients.

With effective planning, strict licensing regulations and vetting procedures such as BS 8507, it's no surprise that close protection is becoming the number one choice of more and more CEOs to safeguard them in their line of work.

In : Close Protection 

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