Executive Protection, also known as close personal protection are the security measures undertaken to ensure the safety of individuals exposed to elevated personal risk due to their status in life. The protective measures taken may include enhanced home security systems, armored vehicles, mail screening, and background checks across the board for anyone involved with the executive and other extreme precautions. Since this form of protection isn’t fixed and is prone to many levels of infiltration, unlike fixed locations like warehouses, threat assessment is crucial and at times even close family members benefit from this protection. Here in the US, executive protection services are regulated at state level and require special licensing, training and permits for concealed weapons.
There are various fundamentals that when followed to the letter, lead to a successful EP program:
First & foremost, do NOT forget about the family & friends
The most vulnerable persons in an EP program are usually not the people under protection, but the people closest to them who are easily accessible and usually not under the veil of protection. It is basic psychology, if a criminal wants to get to a person who is always under surveillance, targeting their closest friends and family will ensure the full attention of their main target is established. While setting up a security detail at the executive’s home is seen as a little bit extreme, it can actually reduce the risk of loss of property, dignity and in some extreme cases, life.
Build a large number of contacts & friends (networking)
The presence of reliable information is the building block to a successful EP program. Making sure that the team protecting the executive has close contact with the executive assistants and even event organizers is paramount in that it helps reduce the risk of sabotage. These people have eyes and ears everywhere and forming a good relationship will help in keeping the person of interest safe. Whenever there is a gathering of VIPs in one place, their security teams are advised to meet up and cooperate, and by doing this, they are able to create relationships that can be mutually beneficial to both parties. Picking the brains of fellow protection professionals can provide a wealth of helpful information, due to their varying experiences; these peers can provide welcome sites to camp out whenever the VIP is visiting a foreign region. After all prevention is better than curing.
Advice the query on the importance the EP program
A fairly common phenomenon is when executives’ rebel against their protection due to the strains protection has on their nerves and their various relationships. It is the responsibility of the protection professional to educate the executive on the security recommendations. It is advisable for the two parties to form a relationship of respect towards each other so that both of them are able to coexist and the executive will be able to comfortably follow the instructions dealt to him/her if they come from a friendly face. They should also be made aware of the risks they are facing and be informed of the counter measures to these situations and the worst case scenarios.
Providing the executive with their own special form of training should help with their psyche. Making sure they can defend themselves when worst comes to worse will help them settle into the situation, remain calm and try and find a way out. With this, they become more enthusiastic and cooperative.
Don’t make protection seem like a chore
This is one of those things that should actually go unsaid. Unlike the movies where Gerard Butler is seen running into the White House all guns blazing to save his principal in Olympus Has Fallen, real life is less exciting. Here excellent organizational skills and a keen following of the schedule will actually prevent all the drama. The work of executive professionals is actually very tedious and boring if the person is doing their job right and constant checking in with the principal will help speed things up and seem less boring.
Even when plans deviate, the professional should be able to think on their feet and devise a plan of action quickly and this prevents anxiousness among the principals and also prevents them from pulling idiotic stunts as they can see their detail can keep up with them.
Drop the obvious ‘bouncer-look’
Having goons dressed in black and over-sized coats may be sufficient when on a night out, but that does not really cut it when protecting an executive. The persons should be able to easily blend in with the crowd, be highly trained, be good communicators, have experience in defensive driving, emergency medical training and the ability to assess threats before they occur and think on their feet when employing the correct countermeasures when things go wrong. Even though physical skills can be taught and improved over time, there are certain qualities like dedication and integrity which can only be inbred in the personnel. Acquiring persons with these rare qualities will ensure a better outcome of the program.