5 top tips for selecting a Close Protection Officer

Protecting high profile VIPs might feel like a scene from a Hollywood movie, but in reality, expert, highly trained and professional close protection officers are worth their weight in gold!

Offering total protection against planned and unplanned threats, a close protection officer will protect their client against the threat of assault, kidnappings, loss of confidential information, and terrorist attacks.

It can be daunting trying to find the right type of close protection officer that you or your client requires. We’ve put together five top tips for you:

  1. Do I need close protection?

If you or your clients are high value, high profile VIPs, celebrities or dignitaries, then the answer is most definitely, yes! It’s not only royalty or movie stars that have bodyguards or a close protection team but anyone who requires additional protection against outside threats.

Look at it this way, if you have the latest and most expensive smart phone you’re more likely to insure it and buy a snazzy cover to protect it if gets dropped on the floor or gets stolen. If you’re still sporting a Nokia 3310, then the likelihood is that you won’t be spending time protecting it.

  1. What type of close protection should I look for?

We would always advise looking for a close protection officer who has been extensively trained and is SIA licenced. The best type of officer would be someone discreet and professional, who understands what their client needs and is both proactive and reactive when situations arise.

  1. What does a close protection officer do?

In the simplest form, a close protection officer looks after high profile clients, VIP, and dignitaries. Their job can range from typical bodyguard duties to pre-planning security at events, liaising with event management staff, managing security at home or whilst travelling, vehicle, room and venue searches and day to day activities. 

  1. What training for Close Protection Officers go through?

Most close protection officers are selected based on their exemplary military and service backgrounds. Those who look after members of the Royal Family or Heads of States often start their careers in the military and then move into looking after high profile VIPs and dignitaries completing specialist training throughout their working life. They will usually stay working within the same team until they retire or decide to move on.

Close protection officers who look after business figures, high profile clients, VIPs and celebrities will need to undertake extensive training and get their licence from the SIA. An SIA licence lasts for three years and costs £220. The SIA website has some useful information on how to become a close protection officer. 

  1. Where can I find an experienced close protection officer?

The best place to source experienced close protection officers is to look for companies that offer total security services. Larger companies will often pay more attention to train their staff and ensure that they have the correct skills, experience, and licences.

No matter your budget, we would always advise that you seek SIA-licenced close protection officers from a reputable security company that offers the highest level of experience, skills, and discretion.

Find out more about close protection officers.

Why corporate security matters

In an age where everything is accessible at the touch of a button or accessed remotely, something as simple as corporate security can often be overlooked. And as the old adage goes “prevention is better than cure”, and we like to think the same can be said for corporate security services. It’s better to prevent a potential security risk, then it is to try and work through the issues when a problem sets in!

Seen by some businesses as a ‘nice to have’, corporate security is so much more than just fancy security guards patrolling your premises. In fact, corporate security should definitely be a staple for all businesses looking to protect not only their staff and premises but also protect against loss of confidential information.

In recent years, corporate security has seen a resurgence and many businesses across the UK are seeking guidance from total security experts in creating bespoke security packages that fit the needs and requirements of the business or businesses.

Still not sure why corporate security matters? We’ve put together some FAQs below:

 

So why is corporate security so important to businesses?

A similar trope would be, “how long is a piece of string?”, the only way corporate security can truly be quantified is when a potential threat isn’t a risk to a business. For instance, a highly trained and experienced corporate security team would be able to plan for all potential threats and risks to a business and/or people and premises, and, would be able to stop these issues from becoming major problems.

Without a proper security provision, a business would be in immediate threat from loss of confidential information, break-ins or damage to premises etc. As we’ve previously said, “prevention is better than cure”!

What does an effective corporate security team look like?

No, we’re not going into the great detail of the uniforms they might wear, instead, let’s look at what duties a professional corporate security team typically perform. Duties can range from the following:

  • Front of house reception
  • Vehicle searching
  • Patrolling the sites inside and out
  • Access control
  • Dealing with alarms
  • Monitoring of CCTV
  • Plus much more…

And it goes without saying, that a professional security provision will also be in uniform, so they not only offer a visual deterrent but also stand out among the crowd.

What training is required?

To ensure that the best service is achieved, corporate security staff need to be highly skilled and experienced. Most reputable security services companies won’t hire staff unless they are fully SIA Licensed. So the same should go if you’re hiring – always ensure that your security staff is properly licensed.

How should I choose the right corporate security service?

We recommend two main tips for selecting the very best security staff, no matter whether you require 24/7 ongoing security or a short-term security solution:

  1. Check that the company is reputable. One of the best ways is to find out how they vet and train their staff. Are they fully SIA Licensed? Do they pride themselves on continuous professional development? And what types of services do they offer, are they specialists in one area or do they offer a total security service?
  2. Read the client testimonials. We find that this is an effective way of ensuring that people are happy and confident in the service being provided.

Security matters, and in particular, corporate security matters. If you’re serious about business, then this is definitely one element that shouldn’t be overlooked!

The Benefits of Mobile Patrol Services

Mobile Patrol Services versus Manned Static Guards

As far as comparisons between the type of security provision your business should invest in, this one is definitely up there with CCTV and guard dogs!

Depending on the size of your business will depend on the type of security provision that you require. It also depends on the type of business that you operate. If for instance, you operate a warehouse or logistics depot, you may prefer to have an onsite, manned static guard provision – a dedicated security operative or team who will look after your business and premises 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But what if your business is smaller? Is it worth hiring a manned static guard? Well, probably not and that’s where the benefit of a mobile patrol services comes into play.

For businesses that require a security operative to check on their premises out of hours, or to be on call to check on any signs of disturbance, a mobile patrol security operative is the best option. And for those looking after their budgets, but who still require a dedicated security service, this provision can give you total peace of mind.

 

What do mobile patrol services do?

This is a slightly loaded question and should probably be ‘what don’t mobile patrol services do?’, as the role is incredibly varied, depending on the business in question. In a nutshell, mobile patrol services usually include the following tasks:

  • Locking and unlocking premises
  • Setting alarms
  • Checking access points
  • Ensuring the building and premises are secure
  • Liaising with maintenance staff and contractors
  • Out of hours checks on all business premises
  • Random patrols to avoid detection by intruders
  • Monitoring activity and reporting any potential security issues or health and safety issues

When selecting a mobile patrol service, you should always choose a professional and reputable business that specialises in total security services and who can provide you with fully SIA licensed and highly experienced team who can plan, implement and manage your security needs. Don’t forget to check their customer testimonials to give you an insight into how they look after their customers!

Regardless of the size of your business, a mobile patrol service offers you peace of mind, ensuring that your people, product and premises are safe and sound.

The Importance of Retail Security Guards

Over the last few years, there has been a rise in thefts within the retail sector. For many businesses, not utilising retail security guards puts you at a much higher risk, than businesses that have a regular retail security provision.

Threatening behaviour, in-store theft and loss in revenue mean that businesses and staff can suffer greatly. The addition of expert retail security guards within your business or businesses can help to safeguard not only your premises, stock but also your employees and your customers.

 

Do I need a retail security guard?

The simple answer is yes. It might sound like an obvious answer, but the truth is that you’re probably putting your business and your people at risk without having a regular retail security guard on site within your retail store.

Recently we witnessed an unnerving event at a local supermarket, when two men entered the store and started to disrupt and distract two of the young shop assistants, by asking them both inappropriate questions and constantly looking around at the security cameras. Luckily, the in-store retail security guard and the store’s manager managed to diffuse the situation, by asking the men to leave. A few days’ later, the local news reported another local store had been targeted by theft, however, unfortunately, the store in question did not have the proper security provision in place and subsequently had money from the tills stolen.

 

How do I select the right retail security guards?

You’ll need to find out exactly what you and your business needs from the service that retail security provides. Do you need a team of guards, or just one? Do you require a permanent guard on site or a guard that only works during busy periods, such as weekends? Once you’ve ascertained these questions, you should look for a reputable security management company who can work with you to create a bespoke, cost-effective service that suits your business needs.

A good security company will also ensure that your needs are met and will work with you closely to ensure that your retail security guards are fully SIA licensed and highly trained. They will also be able to provide you with regular reports about their tasks. A reputable firm will also be able to advise on how best to ensure that their retail security guard team is providing you the best service and will work with you to try plan, manage and implement their strategy to make sure that your business doesn’t lose revenue or customers.

In this day and age, don’t let the risk of petty theft, fraud and crime ruin your retail business. Choosing the right retail security guard provision can help to safeguard and futureproof your business.

The Rise of CCTV

Here’s a question for you. Which country has the most CCTV cameras per head? If Control-Roomyou were thinking the USA, China or Japan, you’d be wrong. It’s actually the UK! That’s right, according to those in the know, there are approximately 2.5 million CCTV cameras in the UK alone, and that makes up almost 20% of the world’s cameras. Incredibly, though, it’s thought that there is apparently one CCTV camera for every 14 people.

What does CCTV stand for?

CCTV stands for Closed Circuit TV and these surveillance cameras are used by security services, businesses, domestic properties across the country.

Do I need CCTV?

For those who want to know that they are fully protected from criminal activity such as thefts, criminal damage, intruders etc., CCTV plays a huge role. It’s been proven to be a highly effective form of deterrent and more and more businesses are looking for SIA approved companies offering security services to manage their CCTV provision. It’s fast becoming one of the most sought after security service in the UK.

Some total security services companies will also provide a 24 hour monitored CCTV service. This means that highly trained and experienced staff will monitor the camera footage and also inform you if any alarms on your property have been triggered.

If you’re interested in getting CCTV for business use or even domestic use, you’ll want to find a reputable security company who can install and manage the CCTV on your behalf. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a company that can offer you a range of security services, such as CCTV, key holding, manned guarding and mobile patrol services. Each of these areas works in conjunction with the other.

Having the addition of CCTV as part of your security provision makes perfect business sense to ensure that your livelihood is protected from the outside, in.

SIA Licence

SIA Licence

SIA licence new and renewal service will resume on 6th July from this date onwards applications should be processed through your employer, you also need to create a personal account and link it to your employer. The web address link below has useful videos to explain the changes.

http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/changes-videos-applicants.aspx

On another note I was returning from undertaking customer care training which within the security industry is a fine balancing line, between welcoming customers and preventing unacceptable behaviour is a skill that is learnt through training and experience.

Recently, when I was travelling on the London Underground a man started to announce his presence to the commuters initially I thought this person was begging. This was not the case he had a board with his contact details asking if anyone could offer him a job to take a picture of his details, his difficulty was not having a permanent address. He was willing to undertake any job. The mood in the carriage when I left was of good will towards this individual and offers from passengers with information of charities that could help and pictures taken of his details. How refreshing.

Applying to work at an SIA Approved Security Company

There is a long list of documents that need to be provided when undertaking security training and applying to work for a SIA Approved security company. It does not stop there as an employee it is important to ensure your passport is up to date and any work permits if not renewed on time will prevent you from working. Your employer needs any renewed original documents so they can be recorded as soon as you receive them. As with the SIA licence, change of address should also be given to your employer.

Emergency contact numbers are also very important if your employer needs to contact your next of kin.  If you change your mobile number or any contact details, then these too need to be updated with your employer. All of these are easily forgotten but when the need arises if not updated then they can cause a lot of difficulty.  As a rule dates of birth and national insurance numbers do not change!

 

Foot Note

The Manchester United evacuation in May 2016 of the ground has highlighted quite a few issues one of which is one of the security companies had claimed it was SIA approved. To check any company is SIA approved the SIA web site gives a full list of all approved companies for clients and staff it is always best to check to ensure standards are being met by the Security Company from operations to employment.

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