Category Archives: UK bodyguards

Being a Close Protection Operative: Your relationship with the client

Sometimes maybe you wonder what kind of relationship you are allowed to have with your client because of the nature of your profession. You are spending many hours with him, sometimes good moments, sometimes bad. You are the one who is in presence in his important business meeting, or in his ‘’private and personal meetings’’. So what is the role of you in those kinds of situations?

I have been asked many times by new professionals how they can deal those kinds of challenges. ‘’what if my client asked me to go for a drink with him? Should I accept?’’ or ‘’ what if my client ask me to do things that are out of my responsibilities?’’.

If you are a female close protection operative then be prepared to deal with even more difficult situations.

First of all, it is very important and primary action when you accept a job proposal to do all the necessary Intel about your client’s case. Try to learn as many information you can about the client, his/her family and professional background, (in our days with the internet is very easy to gain a lot of information). Do your own research on the threat level, no matter what client is revealing about the threat he/she is dealing you need to do your own threat assessment based on your work education and experience, so you know what situation you are dealing and most important what is the threat level.

Times are hard and security industry is a cut throat work industry…but you must not accept any position just because someone is paying you well. Ask from your client to be honest with you, you are there not to make him reveal his secrets and feel embarrassing but to understand the true risks and take action. There are different risks levels for different people (pop stars, politicians, businessmen).

After you have done your threat assessment ask from your client to have a conversation, explain him the real situation, don’t hesitate that you will make him be afraid. He needs to know exactly what he is dealing with and what else he may need to do, or what different actions he need to take. After he has understood the threat level, explain him what are your responsibilities. Don’t rely on the fact he has worked before with previous close protection operatives and he will know. Also do not expect all your suggestions on security matter that will be taken into consideration from all the clients, some are open to hear from security professionals and trust their opinion, some let’s say will give you just few ‘’tools’’ to work with and you have to adjust to it.

During your working hours you have to be serious and pay attention on your duty, not paying attention to the lady at the bar.

You are not there to eavesdrop when your client has business meetings or any other dates.  Whatever you see or hear during your duty remain secret. This is something you have to mention to your client. We don’t talk about our client’s personal life or professional details to others (remember how unprofessional is for some bodyguards to reveal their ex clients personal hot details to the press after they have been fired or quit, if you were in a need of a bodyguard would you hire someone like them? I’m sure you not). First is not ethical, second is not professional, third it will cost you your reputation in security industry.

Keep secret from others the identity of your client. Even if it is ex client, don’t brag about who your client was. If someone wants to hurt him he will come to you for details. So silence and privacy are the most important characteristic of your job.

As a close protection operative your job is to protect client’s life and image. You are not there to: take your clients clothes from laundry, carrying his briefcase, shopping bags, etc. How can you protect his life when you are carrying his briefcase? How long it will take you to drop the briefcase and take out your gun to shoot if it’s needed? It sound unprofessional but we are seeing it even today that some colleagues are doing it.

Don’t be afraid to say NO when you are asked to perform duties which are out of your role, the client is hiring a bodyguard not a maitre or a battler. It makes you more professional to deny something like this instead of accepting it and put in danger his and your life. He has hired you to provide security services not any other kind of services.

That’s why it is very important you earn your clients professional respect. He must see you as an educated, well trained, experienced and professional person, and that’s only up to you to earn it. If your client respects you then any of your suggestions over the work are will be accepted by him positively.

Keep secret from others the identity of your client. Even if it is ex client, don’t brag about who your client was. If someone wants to hurt him he will come to you for details. So silence and privacy are the most important characteristic of your job.

Now what about your relationship with your client? Should it be strictly professional or also include a friendly relationship?

To be honest being in this profession for 11 years now, I have found it hard to answer it myself. Every one of us, client or close protection operative, we are different, have different social background and if you add to that a different culture then be ready to deal more difficulties.

What I use to do far now is imagine there is a line, on the left is the Strictly Professional, and on the right is Friendly. I decide to operate somewhere in the middle. From my personal experience I found out when I was acting strictly professional the client was ‘’afraid’’, my position there was to make them feel safe but when you appear ‘’untouchable’’ they believe you don’t understand their fear or you don’t feel what they’re going through. It is very important for them to feel you understand them. Is not easy to be the client….Sometimes they will open up and talk to you and you must show you can hear them.

From the other side if you go on the right side and be Friendly…then automatically your professionalism level will be down on your client’s eyes, not because he doesn’t trust you anymore but because your professional suggestions in future won’t be dealing as in a serious way. Have in mind how Psychologists work, they cannot offer professional counseling to people who belong in their family or friends and one of the reasons is that’s because sometimes listening someone who is out of your environment and an expert in that specific part gives his words more credibility and makes him more reliable.

Not to mention if you pass the friendly level, your client will start to ask for favors or do things out of your duties again.

It is understood that you may have to have many hours with the same person, your client. Can you start and have a friendly chat or gossip? NO, talk to him only when he talks to you or you have to say something that include his safety. During the hours you are spending with him you may need to have lunch together, this is ok, but remember to pay at the beginning in case you need to leave quickly. Your relation also with his family members will have to be the same. Don’t look too friendly cause both of you will be emotional involved and maybe it can cost you your viability. Don’t look too untouchable because he will think you don’t care. Have a middle position toward your client which is addressed by professionalism.

Alcohol? Well we don’t have to mention why it is forbidden during your duty hours. But if your client calls you for a drink or coffee while you’re not on duty what would you do? In that case you have to have in mind why he is calling you? Does he see you as a friend or do you think he is flirting with you or he just want to talk about your work? You have to take the decision by using your common sense and professionalism.

And last but sometimes the most dangerous trap a close protection operative may fall is to have sexual relationship with his client or the client’s wife. Remember Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard movie sleeping with his client? Oh yes art sometimes copy real life.

Being emotionally involved with your client no matter how unprofessional we see it, it has happened with some colleagues. We can’t judge someone’s heart, but we must make you aware that in a relationship like this the one who is in a negative position is the client. And that’s because he/she is ‘’depended’’ on you. Just imagine it as a relationship doctor-client. However if you think you found the love of your life, someone else can take your professional place and you can always protect them from another perspective.

Now if you are a female close protection operative then you better be prepared to deal also with some cases of sexual harassment, either from your clients, their family members or even your colleagues. Sometimes there are people who believe that because they hired you to protect them you are there also for ‘’extra services’’ (that’s a belief some clients have in countries with a different cultural treatment on women). There have been cases like those which have been unreported to authorities but a common secret within female professionals. This is something that is up to you how you want to deal with and how far you want to go with it.

Denida Zinxhiria

Athena Academy Founder

http://www.athenaacademy.com

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Female Close Protection Operatives Training, Level 1, September 1-9, 2012, Atlanta, GA

Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.

Basic Training:

Including:
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
-Solo Protector & in a Detail -Physical Security
-Protective Escort -Surveillance & Countersurveillance
-Protective Intelligence & Advance Operations
-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
-Basic Pistol Training & Firearms Safety
-Event & Estate Security
-Behavioral Intelligence and Attack Recognition
-Dealing with Media & Paparazzi
-First Aid & CPR/AED

Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.

To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/

For additional information and applications please e-mail: charla@athenaworldwide.com

Athena Academy official FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athena-Academy-International-Female-Security-Training/267075996663008

Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 3 weeks before starting date.

Application date open until July 30

Close Protection Operatives aka Bodyguards, do you know who they are?

Many people seem to have a confusion about what a CPO is. Because is one of the professions that doesn’t have specific standards to follow, unfortunately there many non professionals who are giving the bad image in our industry.

A Close Protection Operative is:

– The person who is in charge to protect his/her client’s life and interest.

– Have gone through specific Close Protection Training, so be aware of ex-law enforcement personnel, ex-military, ex-federal agents, and generally any ex- in something professionals who want to play in security industry field UNLESS they have specific Close Protection Training as well. Everyone has a specific training experience and field of knowledge, if you have a heart condition you will seek help from a Cardiologists, you won’t go to see an Orthopedic although they are both doctors, you need the one with a specific specialization, so why not doing the same when it comes to your safety?

– As the person in charged for his/her clients safety his suggestions over the security issues and plans must be respected and followed from the client, his family and his colleagues. Don’t make harder the work of someone who is there to protect you.

-Being a CPO mean you will be with your client and in present in many important personal or professional decisions or incidents will may follow. So your duty as well is to be discreet and silent about what you see and hear. There are enough many cases already of ex bodyguards who found the author in them and started putting in a book their ex clients ‘’spicy personal details’’. Professional and acceptable? I don’t think so.

A Close Protection Operative is Not:-A martial arts pro or black belt holder necessarily. In order to work as a CPO you must be in a position to know basic fighting techniques in order to protect yourself and your client. Be able to react in any possible attacks during your duty. But that doesn’t mean that you must have a black belt in any kind of martial arts or have practicing for years. Yes some Close Protection Operatives has gone through many years of training in martial arts practice and may have gain black belts but that is a result of their life and works prior their occupation with security industry, or as a personal choice. Have in mind when you start working as a CPO you won’t have that much time to attend any full time martial arts classes. So you need to learn something that will require less time but also be as much effective it can for you to use in real life and situations.

So a CPO is not a killing machine with a license to kill or beat anyone up.

-A CPO is not a Federal Agent or Law Enforcement personnel, they don’t have any access to any ‘’governmental sources or databases’’ or even ‘’call the brigade’’ options (unless some of them have the right persons in the right positions to gain any information out of the record), in some countries they have no rights more on duty than a simple citizen in his daily life. So don’t try to play the authority when you are not the authority. You must do your best to do your job and keep your client alive with what you have while not falling on a citizen’s rights. By that said you cannot do any body research or arrest anyone! Last incident in Greece, one of the CPOs of a Parliament Party Leader, threaten his clients supporters that those who will come closer to him at 1 meter will be arrested! And that while his client had a public speech.

Don’t think just because you are working in security industry that Law Enforcement personnel are your colleagues and should deal you like one. If they want to help your while you are working that’s more than fine but you can’t require or demand it. You need to follow their directions and orders when you are not in your client’s territory.

-A CPO is not a gang member, a doorman or a wrestler. Yes there are some cases when people who belong to ‘’night activities’’ have been hired to protect clients but that’s up the clients choice and belief that they can protect them better and know how to deal in hard situations. False and wrong idea… yes.

-A CPO is not responsible to carry his/her client’s shopping bags, laundries etc. Not only because has not been hired for that job, but doing any other activity or carrying anything will make his/her reactions slower if any attack occurs. Many clients require it, so refuse it by being polite and explaining the reasons.

Female Close Protection-Bodyguard Course, Atlanta, GA, September 23-30, 2011

Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.

Basic Training: Level 1

Including:
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
-Solo Protector & in a Detail -Physical Security
-Protective Escort -Surveillance & Countersurveillance
-Protective Intelligence & Advance Operations
-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
-Basic Pistol Training & Firearms Safety
-Event & Estate Security
-Behavioral Intelligence and Attack Recognition
-Dealing with Media & Paparazzi
-First Aid & CPR/AED

Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.

To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/

For applications please e-mail: charla@athenaworldwide.com

Athena Academy official FB page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44528524966&ref=ts

Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 3 weeks before starting date.

Application date open ntil June 30.

Section: Professional Advices from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

So you want to be a bodyguard?

Lets have a look on a 48hours detail of a close protection agent.

By Dave Marris

High Risk Security Contractor & Security Consultant

I have been pounded recently by requests from Facebook, and a couple of other sources, by requests from various people wanting to know how they can become involved in the world of protection/security. Most are looking for that “silver bullet” that will rocket them to the top of the EP world in one fell swoop. I try constantly to educate them that this short cut is very, very hard to accomplish. A few have done it, based off of their connections in certain industries, but most do not. There really is no shortcut; there is no silver bullet, only hard work, long hours and a LOT of money invested in training and equipment. It takes YEARS to develop the skill and mindset to qualify you to properly perform this work. Think long and hard before you decide that this is what you want to do for a living. It can be a very stressful way to make a living.

On to the point. I just recently performed a 2 day assignment for a friend of a friend. For those aspiring people that would like to get involved in the industry, I will share “a day in the life” with you. This is a no holds barred description and timeline of a typical 2 day assignment. No glitz, no glam…just a rock hard description of the type of work you are getting yourself into. I myself, I love it…always have. However I warn you, this work is not for the weak of heart, mind, body or spirit. What follows is a 40 hour plus, non-stop roller coaster ride, with zero sleep. To those of you that may think this would be easy…I challenge you to try it, staying awake that long. And remember, you will be performing it sans any stress at all.

This is a long read. Think so? You should try DOING it…

BTW, all information shared here is open source material. No OPSEC information with-in the assignment has been compromised.

Client: The Cleopatra Exhibit, along with 2 principles.

Objective: Guarantee safe transport of two Egyptian Nationals and approximately 300 million dollars worth of Egyptian artifacts (3 tractor and trailers) from current venue in Philadelphia, PA to new venue in Cincinnati, OH.

My Position: ATL, team medic.

Special Equipment: Motorola radios, personal handguns, 1 x long gun-Bushmaster M-4, 1 x shotgun-Mossberg 500, medical gear, GPS.

Timeline: Trucks and PAX MUST arrive at new venue by 0800 of day 2. A press conference is scheduled for 0900 and the one 5,000 pound statue must be uncrated by then so as to be used as a center piece for the cameras. Contractual clause states payment will not be rendered to security company should failure of timeline occur. At no time is any one truck to be separated, either all arrive or all do not. No truck is to be opened at any time by anyone other than the two Egyptians. To do so would cause the curse of 1,000 years and so on… (Rolls eyes.)

My Earnings: $1,000 US dollars, pre tax.

Day 1 (This is all day one as you have to sleep in order for it to count as two days)

0800: Meet with the team to discuss overall plan of operation, routes, comms, etc.

0845: Team splits to accomplish pickup of rental vehicles and inspect loaded trucks at storage location. Sub-Team 1 will pick up clients; Sub-Team 2 will take possession of trucks, check seals, secure and stage trucks for movement. Sub-Team 3 accompanies Team 1.

1000: Sub-Teams meet at storage facility, enter order of march, confirm discussion from earlier meeting. One of the Egyptian Nationals is sick, vomiting and diarrhea. Neither speaks much English and no interpreter has been assigned by the client. This information was never discussed prior to jump-off time. Egyptian National insists on making the trip anyway. Being the team medic, I dispense over the counter meds and some Flagyl to help control the sickness.

1045: Convoy departs Philadelphia for Cincinnati, timeline allows for transit time, including stops and fueling of 14-16 hours, which should put us into Cincinnati well ahead of schedule.

1200: The sick Egyptian needs to stop for a bathroom break. I administer 2 more Imodium to try to stop the diarrhea. Team 2 vehicle (client team) smells like a bad sewer. All chase vehicles refuel since the opportunity presents itself.

1600: Proximity Pittsburg, PA fuel/bathroom stop in major route truck stop. Light snow has begun to fall. One of the drivers of the trucks now decides to pull his truck onto the “free” scale at the truck stop. Up to this point we had not hit a weigh station. Driver informs TL that his vehicle is +- 2,000 pounds above the maximum allowed for his wheelbase. This is a major issue as there are a number of state weigh stations between us and the destination, where the trucks are required to stop, enforced by State Police. This truck will not be allowed to continue if found to be over weight. Security is informed that we will be delayed until a resolution comes from the trucking company about how to proceed. I inquire about length of delay and am told we can not proceed until the green light is given by someone from the trucking company to accept liability. We move trucks and escort vehicles into a defensive posture. TL and truckers hold up with comms in one of the trucks, making numerous phone calls. I extricate my long gun from its case, brought for this very reason, and several jaws hit the street. (Fuck ‘em, it’s my ass.) After 2 hours of chatter and delays while the snow has continued to fall and accumulate, I go over to the “meeting truck” and pound on the door, climb up into the cab. More conversation and I finally convince the driver to continue. If we see an open weigh station, we will pull over, stop and deal with it then. Until then, we roll.

1830: Depart the truck stop.

2000: Approaching Wheeling, WV. The snow has increased from light to something else. Visibility is lowering, as is our speed. We are now traveling at an average of 40 MPH. The chase vehicles are 4WD but the TT trucks are carrying precious cargo, so the speed drop is critical and necessary. We are losing precious time, but still have plenty of time to complete the trip with a few hours to spare.

2130: Approaching the Ohio border, truck 3 calls out over the radio that he has a mechanical problem. Snow has continued and speed has dropped to 25 MPH. His alternator light has come on and his truck computer has dropped his power output to half to save the batteries. Truck 1 informs the convoy that there is a truck stop not far from where we are, and since truck 3 has a small internal generator, he should be able to make it.

2150: At the truck stop we lift the engine cover to find that the serpentine belt on the engine of truck 3 has broken. The broken belt whipped around and also took out the tension pulley. Not good. The truck can not go far without proper repair. Several phone calls are made and a repair shop is open within 4 miles of our current position. They however do not have the parts. The parts will be have to be brought in from another location. This truck is the climatically controlled truck of the 3 and the seals of this truck can not be broken in an uncontrolled environment, so calling another truck to transfer the cargo is not possible. We load up and drive to the repair shop. Good news is the sick Egyptian principle is feeling much better. She wants to know where the “doctor” studied medicine.

2230: After arriving at the repair shop, truck 3 is pulled into the repair bay. The owner wanted to disconnect the tractor from the trailer so that the climate control generator fumes would not make the air in the shop foul. I was tasked with staying with the truck in the repair bay while the rest of the team set security outside. (Remember the long gun?) I told him to open a window. The repair guys were not happy with the fact that I was carrying a rifle in their shop. I told them to get over it and I guess they did.

2300: Parts arrive along with a mechanic that is a specialist with this kind of work. He can not give me a timeline for the repair. I ask him to please hurry.

2345: The mechanic informs me that the shop will be closing at midnight and he does not know if the repair will be completed by then. I tell the mechanic’s helper to go and find the shop owner, and call the TL on the radio and ask her to come inside. With all players there, I inform the TL of the problem. She asks me what I think and I state that I think the shop will be extending hours for the evening. The shop owner agrees. (I sincerely believe this had everything to do with the fact that I had an M-4 slung over my shoulder.)

0030: Repair complete. Per the TL’s orders I flip the owner of the shop a hundred bucks and the mechanic fifty for being good sports. The next obstacle will be the weigh stations.

0045: Order of march is resumed. Snow continues to fall heavily and roads are becoming covered and slick. Average speed is 35 to 40 MPH and we are still some 200 miles from the destination. Luckily for us the weigh station that caused the earlier concern is closed due to the crappy weather. We roll by without incident.

0245: Approximately 100 miles from destination we stop at yet another truck stop for fuel and coffee. Snow continues to dog us and everyone is a bit irritable and tired. We have been switching off drivers, but the contract calls for 100% alert, so no one has slept.

0315: Back on the road. Visibility and road conditions have continued to deteriorate. Lead truck driver is considering calling the roads to hazardous to continue. The TL calls him on the radio and tells him this is unacceptable and we need to continue even if at 25 MPH.

0415: Like magic, the snow suddenly stops. 5 miles further up the road, there is not even any sign of the snow. Ohio is a weird place. We push to 70 MPH and start to make some time. I am driving and tired and beginning to see ninjas with poison dart blowguns peering out from the bushes on the side of the road.

0630: Arrive at the venue with 1 and a half hours to spare. That’s right, we bad. Despite the need to overcome a number of obstacles…success.

0730: Trucks are staged at the loading docks. Local union workers begin unloading the first of the 3 trucks.

0800: Press and television crews begin to arrive. They are filming the unloading and set up process for the statue. Our team is asked to help with securing the area and checking entry credentials, since this is a private event.

0900: The press conference begins.

1100: Press conference runs overtime. Unloading of the trucks begin. This process is incredibly slow as the Egyptians insist on touching every crate as it comes out of the trucks, then mumbling a few words. This is compounded by the fact that every piece of the display is considered “priceless” and must be handled with utmost care. We are contractually bound to supervise the unloading process.

1500: Unloading is complete. We say our goodbyes and head to Daton airport to catch a 1700 flight back to Philly. Downtown traffic is bad and we are delayed enough to miss our flight. After an hour at the airline counter, we are finally put on a flight to Philly via Newark. We have very little time between flights, and we are all traveling with weapons in Pelican cases. If we miss the connector in Newark, out weapons will be on the baggage carousel unattended in Philly.

1935: Depart Daton.

2050: Arrive Newark.

2150: Depart Newark.

2230: Arrive Philadelphia.

2245: Wife and son arrive at the airport to pick me up.

0000: After a shower and a stiff Jack Daniel’s (hey I earned it), off to bed. I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. Seriously.