Close protection security is the physical protection of client(s) from any possible threat of harm. This security measure is usually carried out by close protection officers (CPOs) who provide ongoing security assessments, surveillance, and threat mitigation, with the aim of keeping a client safe from danger.
This level of safety precaution has often been reserved for royalty, heads of state, celebrities, and VIP’s, however, close protection services are not limited to providing safety for the rich and famous, they are available for anyone that can pay for and needs personal protection.
There are other types of close protection services, including constant protection services for valuable assets, round the clock home protection with residential security teams and specialist escorts. So although you may think of close protection as a large gentlemen in dark sunglasses ushering a celebrity through a crowd of waiting onlookers, the services available under the close protection security umbrella are in actual fact, far more varied, in order to support and tailor for individual client needs and requirements.
Close Protection Officers
Close protection officers are the first line of defence when it comes to a person’s safety. However, they are not just there to provide a physical presence, they often put an entire security framework in place depending on the location of their client, whether they be at home, or attending a formal event, or even simply being chauffeured. This attention to detail and risk assessments covering all circumstances are often glossed over when the role is portrayed in the media or movies.
Who are they?
Close protection officers (CPOs) are highly trained individuals, usually, but not exclusively, with a military or government background. They are usually referred to as bodyguards, but with the increasing pressure on close protection security services to help preserve “normal” life as much as they can for their clients, CPOs can now be far more discreet in their manner of protection.
What do they do?
This is entirely dependent on what the client requires from their close protection. They can provide an obvious presence as a deterrent, physically protecting and defending their client from harm and helping to diffuse any dangerous situation however they see fit, within legal parameters. They can be on 24 hour security duty to protect their client whilst they are in their own home or at an event, they may need to arrange specific transport or protect valuable assets and possessions or they may simply be required to provide discreet surveillance and protect their client that way.
Ultimately, close protection officers or specialists are required to ensure their client’s safety when and as required.
Are they armed?
No. Due to UK firearms laws, the carrying of guns is illegal and carries heavy penalties. Civilian close protection officers are also not allowed to carry weapons such as tasers, batons or pepper spray. This also applies to any overseas close protection officers that are here on business.
There is however, an exception to this rule, interestingly, there is a unit under the Protection Command of the London Metropolitan Police service, called the Royalty and Specialist protection group that are allowed to carry firearms. They are specially and highly trained police officers whose job is to protect the royals and any other important heads of state.
What types of threats can they help with?
Close protection offers help and safety against a variety of threats that may occur in your day to day life. Although it is unlikely that the average person will ever need personal protection, it is not unheard to be used against stalkers or in domestic violence cases. Close protection can help protect you against:
- Threats against you or your family, both direct and indirect
- Organised Crime
- Privacy invasions
- Corporate or political opponents
- Overzealous fans
- Protection of assets
What is involved in Close Protection?
As we pointed out earlier in the article, the job of a close protection officer or the team created to protect the client isn’t necessarily how most people would imagine it to be. It can be a lot more complex than simply standing in front of someone to protect them from harm. Although that is a primary purpose of personal protection, there are usually other requirements involved.
One of the most time consuming aspects of close protection is the continual risk assessments needed to cover the circumstances and location of the client. This may be assessing venues before an event or a thorough inspection of staff as well as looking for vulnerabilities in the security. By doing due diligence, most threats are removed before they ever come close to fruition, which is the aim for close protection, remove or diffuse the threat before it becomes serious.
To keep some form of normality for the client and have no disruption to their lifestyle, some close protection will require surveillance rather than a demanding presence at the client’s side. This may involve use of innovative technology or it may be that the client simply requires an operative to blend in with the surroundings whilst keeping a close eye out.
Sometimes there may be a need for a residential security team to help the client feel safe and protected around their home. Surveillance is often used in this case, combined with an obvious security deterrent of placed CPOs.
Travel and Escort
There are often times when a client will require themselves or a valuable asset to be escorted. This often requires constant protection services, where the CPO will not leave the side of the client or possession needing to be kept safe.
A lot of attacks take place when a protected person is travelling, so CPO’s are often tasked with planning and assessing routes for safety and depending on the severity and likelihood of the threat, using security drivers who are highly trained in tactical driving.
In order to become a close protection officer, you need to hold a Security Industry Authority (SIA) Close Protections Licence. To get this, you need to have completed the Close Protection training course and hold a Level 3 certificate for working as a close protection operative within the private security industry. You must also be a current, certified first aider.
This accreditation helps protect clients from fraudsters and ensures that when you purchase personal protection, your close protection officer or team are the right people to handle any crisis or high pressure situation.
It is a criminal offence by both the person and their employer, to work in the private security industry without an SIA Licence, unless the employer has been given the necessary exemptions under Section 4(4) of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. Therefore if you are looking for close protection, please check the credentials and accreditation of any close protection officer.
Close protection Security with OpSec Solutions
In a world full of increasing threats, security is more important now than ever. At OpSec they have the knowledge and expertise to keep clients safe and well protected, no matter the challenges they face.
If you need personal security they can provide you with close protection services that keep you safe. With years of experience in the security industry, combined with their expert Close Protection Officers and state-of-the-art technology, you can be sure their safeguarding of clients is handled professionally and with minimum disruption to the personal lives of our clients.
There is often some nervousness around hiring close protection services and OpSec Solutions are experts at navigating what can often be a worrying time for some clients. The reassurance that is given to clients when they are explaining their circumstances and why they need personal protection is vital for making sure their clients are comfortable. And by choosing OpSec solutions, clients can get the right advice on the correct security solution for their needs, ensuring a significant enhancement to their safety and quality of life.
At OpSec Solutions, they understand that clients have specific needs and requirements which is why they offer the creation of comprehensive security and close protection services that are tailored to you and your individual circumstances. From location and duration, to the services required, they will deliver exactly what you need, when and where you need it:
- Providing visible protection as a deterrent
- Operatives discreetly blending in with the environment
- Male/female close protection officers
- Regular or one off services
- Individual or security team
So, whether you need specialist protection for appearances, events or personal security and safety, OpSec can tailor their services to your needs, helping you feel safe and secure at all times.
Whether it is a direct threat to your safety, or reducing the risks involved for attendance at an event, or simply close security for an appearance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our close protection team can travel anywhere in the UK or even overseas, that includes travelling alongside you. This commitment extends to our operating times. We understand that threats to your security don’t just end with the working day, so regardless if it is 9-5, overnight or around the clock, we will provide our close protection services whenever you need it.
Give us a call today to talk about your requirements in more depth and see how we can help. Our team can provide a free consultation and assessment with a clear security plan and bespoke pricing.