Executive Protection 101

What’s Involved?


The various sectors of the security industry offer a range of diverse employment opportunities and none more so than Executive Protection (CP or EP). While EP work has traditionally been associated with reducing risk to an individual or family who are under threat of attack or kidnap, the EP role can also extend to many other tasks.


Depending on the level of risk, a EP team can vary in size from one or two members to a fully equipped team who can provide Residential Security (RST), Personal Security Detail (PSD) or Security Advance Teams (AST).


It is important that the team leader or operator can assess the risk and be able to recommend the required level of security, commensurate with the perceived threat.

Job Roles and Requirements


Body-guarding, Personal Security Detail or Detachment (PSD), Executive Protection, Residential Security Team (RST) and Personal Protection Officers (PPO’s) are just some of the terms associated with the EP role, but the range of different opportunities available go way beyond these, you can find them here.


Most EP operators are self-employed and contracted to the number of security and risk management companies. Commercial contracts can run from days to months and are agreed between the client and the security company. The EP operator will sign his own contract with the company.


Networking is vital, and an individual’s reputation for reliability and experience are critical to his or her chance of getting further work and progressing to the more lucrative, longer-term contracts.


Local knowledge, both for tasks in the UK and overseas, is essential for many contracts where orientation and familiarity is necessary, specifically in London.


Asset Protection


An asset could be anything from a high-value necklace to an aircraft, or even a horse. EP operatives are often used to protect high-value items such as jewelry, or the person wearing the jewelry – for example, in the case of a photo shoot where a piece of jewelry is on loan.


The company that owns the item needs to ensure that it is secure and returned safely afterwards. This type of role can range from half a day to several consecutive days’ work, however such roles require an EP level guard, as generally they are trained to a higher standard, may have more experience and be far more versatile than a standard static security guard.


Lifestyle Management


Lifestyle management companies offer busy people a service that meets their individual needs, from people who may just need an extra pair of hands in their daily business activities, to more permanent lifestyle support, security and concierge services.


Some business-people travel extensively in their work and personal lives and have little time themselves. Well-trained EP operatives with good organizational and negotiation skills can alleviate many minor burdens, leaving business-people to concentrate on the important things.


Opportunities exist for well-trained professionals with good communication and interpersonal skills who are presentable and used to solving everyday problems. For some clients, personal security and safety when travelling abroad is often their last thought, as their primary concern is the management of the travel and transport arrangements.


The days of EP operatives refusing to carry bags, holding umbrellas and neglecting to assist a client with a minor task are long gone, especially when the environment allows the operative to do such tasks without causing unnecessary risk to the client. You will be surprised how much more valuable you can become to a client when you are able to assist outside of your job role and use some common sense and initiative.

These matters are second nature to trained EP operatives and go hand in hand with personal security needs. In short, many people are not looking for an EP operative, but a concierge or personal assistant. However, it is highly advantageous if this person can also take care of their security and safety needs at the same time without them appearing to have a security detail.


Remember, you might not be employed as a security operator, but you may be expected to take on the role of one as well as that of a PA, concierge, chauffeur, etc. Being a professional EP operative can give that extra added value to someone who initially may not have given personal security a second thought.


Household Management


Many companies offer complete household management services, providing everything from chauffeurs and gardeners to security and butler services.


Approaching these companies with a good, diverse CV, showing a range of skills, can open a range of different opportunities for EP trained operatives. It may lead to a position as personal safety and security manager, or even as a member of a permanent or temporary residential security team.


Venue Based Security


Because of the diverse environment’s EP operatives need to be capable of working in, opportunities can open up within sporting venues, large hotels and even national infrastructure. Linked with security management and/or supervisory roles, additional qualifications, such as project management, may enhance an individual’s employ-ability.


Some with a EP background have gone on to work for overseas government agencies managing teams of court security officers, and to provide realistic training in legislation and conflict management, acting as technical advisers to individuals working with CCTV and access systems, and running practical exercises in threat and surveillance awareness. Furthermore, EP operatives have also been involved as advisers in the security design of buildings, structure and strategy.


Expedition Security & Safety


There are various reasons for expeditions, ranging from media crews and television companies through to oil expeditionary search teams. Some multinational retail organizations travel around the world looking for exclusive products for their outlets, which can take representatives to more remote, hostile and hazardous environments as part of their work activities, prompting a need for a certain level of security.


Not all roles will involve large-scale teams and, depending on risk level, the job could be undertaken by either an individual or small team.


Media & Production Protection


Media crews often have a level of security both for their own protection and the protection of the high-value equipment they carry, which can be worth tens of thousands of pounds. Ranging from fly-on-the-wall documentaries and news crews to major sporting events, these roles can see operators employed on short- or long-term contracts around the UK and the world in a multitude of potentially hazardous environments. In addition, operators may also (depending on their level of training and skill) be required to provide an element of medical support and liaison.


Residential Security (RST)

Some roles have seen newly trained EP operatives earn upwards of 300 EU per day. Some have retained a long-term contract for 18 months based on a six-day week, which provides excellent income and stability, not to mention excellent experience to add to their CV, not to mention the exposure to potentially become a member of the PSD if the client has such a team in place.


Surveillance


While being a qualified and/or experienced EP operative does not mean you are a trained surveillance operator, many companies will look to trained EP operatives to provide aspects of or join surveillance teams. Although these roles often go to those with specific training and experience working in surveillance, opportunities to work in surveillance and investigative roles cannot be ruled out. By gaining additional qualifications in surveillance and/or professional investigations, an individual will be able to look at other employment openings.


Management


Some EP operatives go on to more managerial roles within security, their qualification in EP proving attractive to employers who, although not specifically looking for a EPO, recognize that the skills and knowledge that come with this level of training are invaluable.


EP Skills Gained in the Services


The EPO’s most in demand are generally those from a Special Forces or military background where experience has been gained over a number of years. As well as those contracts that require operators to carry firearms, overseas contracts in the more high-risk countries generally require operators to have local knowledge and the ability to operate on their own. It is possible for someone without this background to progress to this level, but they will need to establish their reputation as part of a team in Europe and the Middle East, often on a more mundane contract, but where they can prove their skills, reliability and professionalism. It is generally during such contracts that the opportunity to network can lead to more interesting tasks.

Translating your Skills


Threat assessment, forward planning and anticipation of the unexpected are important aspects of all planning, and administration and logistics are among the most critical aspects of the task once the aim has been established. The principles of prior preparation and planning practiced in the military provide a sound background for all EP tasks. The ability to communicate easily with the client, sound general knowledge and an awareness of current affairs are invaluable assets, as is a ‘’quiet’’ sense of humor.


These days, the role of EP operatives extends past the perceived impression of simply providing protection from attackers, with many roles nowadays looking for a range of additional qualifications and experience a close protection grounding can bring. Gaining additional qualifications in health and safety, enhanced medical qualifications such as the Medicine in Remote Areas, which is endorsed by the Royal College of Surgeons, and the Responding to Emergency Medical Incidents and Trauma will make you more attractive to employers and the client.


Consider enhancing your skills and knowledge in other areas too, such as project management, risk management or even training qualifications.


All of these will go towards promoting you as a highly skilled, diverse and employable security professional, enabling you to demonstrate to potential employers that you have more than you competitors, and that you have invested in yourself and developed beyond the general baseline of industry requirements.


To Conclude


An EP good qualification is great, and subsequent good practice and valuable real-life experience (most importantly) in its application, can open many doors. Many EP operatives will openly state that having this background has developed them personally, and the qualities and varied opportunities that come with it have made them more employable. It has led to employment with government departments, commercial companies and individuals in a variety of roles, such as risk management, threat awareness, crisis management, design consultancy, project management, management and oversight of individuals and teams providing security, to name but a few.


Furthermore, on a personal level it provides self-confidence, diplomacy and interpersonal skills, improves organizational and planning abilities, and instills an ability to see the bigger picture and understand strategic viewpoints.


In addition, experienced EP operatives will openly state that they are able to relate to and liaise with people on different levels, from those lower down in the security industry to the movers, shakers and decision-makers high up, not afraid to offer well-thought-out and structured answers or acting as that ‘voice of reason’ and sense at all levels.


Finally, EP operatives are some of the few who are able to fill the gap between the operational aspects of the industry and the theoretical professionals.


Regards,


Adam