Close Protection Officer

Close Protection Officer

Many aspiring close protection officers join the security industry viewing the job through a rose tinted glass. They have a very vague idea regarding the specific job requirements and what they have to face on a daily basis. Even though the job of a close protection officer varies from duty to duty, we shed light on some of their activities in this article.

Duties of a Close Protection Officer

First and foremost, a close protection officer needs to avoid any risk or threat coming in the way of their principle. They are often referred to as bodyguards, who happen to be security officers with a responsibility to protect an individual, family or organization from kidnapping, assault, stalking, terrorist attacks, loss of valuable assets or classified documents etc.

High-level officials, celebrities, public figures and important personalities typically get this kind of close protection from a dedicated team of close protection officers. They are usually provided from national police or hired through a security services company; such as Close Protection UK.

However, public figures with a lower risk of harm can also opt for a single close protection officer who can double as a chauffeur during important events.

Responsibilities of a Close Protection Officer

Depending on their experience, the level of risk, client under the protection and the operation venue; close protection officers assume a wide range of responsibilities. The following factors affect the role of a close protection personnel:

Level of risk

Protection of high-risk principles often involves jobs such as watching out for snipers, checking for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), choke points on a route etc. If there is a low level of risk, some of these activities may not be required. The number of personnel engaged also varies according to client's risk level and demand. Sometimes an entire team of close protection officers works for the security of the client instead of a single officer.

Client type

Depending on the type of clients, a close protection officer's role varies immensely. Political figures are some of the most vulnerable to attacks that can risk the client's life. However, celebrities followed by paparazzi are at a risk of invasion of privacy rather than loss of life. In low-risk situations, a close protection officer needs to be discreet while in high-risk occasions he may need to show some force to discourage hostile behaviors. For a business tycoon, the risks involve loss of life as well as valuable assets. The close protection officer hence offers services that protect both the client and his valuables.

Assigned role

Sometimes, a close protection officer may assume the role of a bodyguard cum driver and be part of a motorcade. They may be assigned to be a part of a subsidiary unit that detects electronic bugs, performs background checks or checks an event venue. They may also take up disguises or blend into the public if the situation demands discreet protection for the client.

As a chauffeur

Perhaps the most popular role of a close protection officer is that of a driver cum bodyguard of the client. The role includes escorting the client on foot and ensuring the safety of the vehicle. Such a driver-CPO is trained in defensive and evasive techniques of driving. Many vehicles may be equipped with special armor and bulletproof glass; providing extra protection for the client and the driver.

Daily Routine of a Close Protection Officer

The day of a group of close protection officers starts with a morning meeting led by their assigned team leader. In the meeting, the team's action for the day is decided upon and the schedule of the principle is examined. The team discusses matters such as transportation, escorting and performing counter-surveillance tasks. They also need to determine the level of risk that their client is exposed to and take action accordingly. The team will then check the venue and road before they are ready to move. They may also maintain a list of people that their principle will come in contact with.

Security of Vehicle

When a close protection officer assumes the role of a driver, he will inspect the vehicles before heading out with the client. The number of vehicles varies according to risk level. Low-risk clients are often escorted in a single vehicle while for high-risk environments an entire motorcade of protective vehicles is arranged.

Transporting the Client

Once the vehicle inspection has been completed, these are brought near to an exit door or gate so that the client can board the vehicle safely. At least one driver-bodyguard remains with the unsearched vehicles, ensuring that the vehicles have not been tampered with harmful objects. In high risk situations, the close protection officers will flank their client before boarding the car.

Travelling with the Client

The client, accompanied by his close protection team then travels towards his destination. Many routes have been checked beforehand and the team is aware of the backup routes chosen in case of emergencies. The team will try to avoid areas with heavy traffic, i.e. choke points. Analyzing the level of risk, tunnels, and narrow bridges may also be avoided. Even though public transport is usually avoided, there may be cases where the client does avail a train or an airplane. In that case, the vehicle is thoroughly checked. There is always a high-risk in availing public transport, hence, it is rarely used. With low-risk clients, it will usually not be practical to travel in such a way except by air as the close protection officers in charge of security have limited control over their environment. A single close protection officer's capability is also limited in this case.

The above is a rough outline of how a close protection officer operates in various environments. The tasks assigned to a close protection officer vary significantly according to the risk level of the client. Responsibilities of close protection officers involve operating in high risk environments where anything can happen. Hence, it is their job to remain alert at all times. This is indeed a high risk and challenging job.

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