Close Protection or Body Guarding?

The term ‘Body Guard’, often glamorised, is still the most common term understood and asked for internationally. The negative image normally conjured is that of burly men dressed in black suits wearing designer shades with ‘attitude’. Many UK security companies providing or teaching this specialist skill prefer to use the term Close Protection. ‘Close Protection Officer’ (CPO) which implies a better trained and more accomplished individual.

Professional ‘Body Guarding’ can be traced back thousands of years. Some historical examples are outlined under a separate heading below. The actual meaning of the word bodyguard as defined within the Oxford English Dictionary as:

“A person or group of people who escort and protect someone, e.g. a political figure”

Close Protection tasks are essentially an operation where an individual or a team of CPOs supply a complete protection service to a client such as a business executive, celebrity or high net worth group who feel, or have actually been, threatened. These threats can be written, verbal, physical; actual or implied through a variety of mediums. Once defined, the levels of threat will be categorised as Low, Medium or High Risk.

Low Risk would place more emphasis on avoidance and maintaining a low profile, without any need for CPOs to be armed. High Risk in general implies the threat of kidnap or assassination requiring the deployment of armed CPOs and Armoured vehicles for protection. In all instances the aim of the CP Team is to extract the client away from any potential harm with minimum engagement or attention.

Once the threat has been established through discussions with the client or his/her representatives, then followed by applicable research and security risk assessments; the unique and wholly appropriate operational requirement can be designed and costed taking into account the clients profile, culture and image to counter any threats, ideally without overly impinging into the Client’s private and family life.

It is fair to say that the most capable CP Teams will introduce a great deal of reassurance and efficiency regarding travel whilst concurrently managing access and overall security of the client’s residence, place of work and holiday locations. This may include advice on the best use of Alarms systems, CCTV and Access Control. The Team Leader will be the focus for liaison and forward planning and normally remains in continual close contact with the Client’s PA or nominated person.

The Minimal Risk Consultancy has been supplying CPOs and formed Low and High Risk CP Teams to Government and Commercial clients since 2002. With a sizable database of registered and vetted SIA Licensed multi skilled CPOs we do have the experience and resources to deploy CPOs or CP Teams at short notice and for longer term tasks backed up at all times by our in house team of HR, administrative, procurement and technical professionals.

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