The single most important consideration a client must make when hiring a bodyguard is to look at what training that bodyguard had to become a fully licensed and professional bodyguard. And I’m not only talking about the specific course an operative must undertake to acquire his or her SIA licence - This is of course important but in terms of a professional bodyguard’s qualifications this is perhaps of least importance.
Age and Previous Profession
It is highly unusual to find a professional bodyguard working in the close protection industry that is under the age of 25 and in London, because of the complexities involved in delivering London bodyguard services, you will do well to find a bodyguard that is not at least 30 years of age. So suffice it to say, bodyguarding certainly is not a profession that a young man can enter into after leaving school. Of course there are always exceptions – but ask yourself, would you hire a naïve and inexperienced-just-out-of-school youth to protect you and your family, even if he has just acquired his licence from a “bodyguard school” in London? No, you certainly wouldn’t.
Car hire companies won’t even let a person hire a car that is under the age of twenty five. And we all know about increased insurance premiums for the youth of our society – it’s no surprise that the older we get the more our risk profile decreases, due to experience and maturity, as do our insurance costs.
What this means is that there is a whole lot of life a potential bodyguard has to live before he can successfully become a professional, licensed, bodyguard. This is the life experience part that counts, the part of a close protection officer’s life that needs to be investigated. And there are two experience histories that fit the profile of a bodyguard very well indeed - They are former armed police and former military backgrounds.
Ideally the person you hire as your bodyguard in London or anywhere else in the world should either have been in the police or military. Now the question is which one suits your needs?
There is a major difference between the two, don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise – a police officer is trained to serve, protect and detect criminals. A soldier is trained to eliminate his enemy. A modern day police officer is trained on a force continuum basis; hands for hands, a baton or pepper spray for a club or stick, pepper spray and gas for more severe threats and circumstances and finally where possible, firearms for firearms. Soldiers are not trained to follow the same sort of force continuum, they are simply trained to defeat their enemy at all costs. I have experienced this first hand when an urban commando unit was merged into my police unit and I was assigned as a Field Training Officer for some of these former soldiers – I will never forget one of the former commando sergeants – an absolute tower of a man saying to me “Casey, this job is much harder! You have to be polite and try stop this car with as little force as possible before you even consider opening fire. We would have just pulled alongside it and thrown in a grenade!” He told me dead seriously while we were pursing a wanted vehicle.
While this is of course an extreme example it is an entirely true and appropriate illustration of the difference in training and mindset between armed police officer and solider.
Therefore the bodyguard industry thinking is simple and along these lines: find the right environment for the right background.
Hostile Environment such as the Middle East and Africa = Former Soldier.
First world sophisticated environment such as London and New York = Former Police Officer.
But of course there are always exceptions to these guidelines, and for good reason. There is a lot more to say on this topic and I will endeavour to cover it in more depth in the near future when I have more time.
For now though, if you are still searching for the ideal bodyguard to hire for your personal requirements do not be afraid to ask penetrating questions. And when perusing bodyguard websites online in your search be sure to ask yourself if these websites give you any real and clear indication of the operatives background and work history and exactly who they are. If they do not, be wary, be suspicious. A bodyguard who claims he needs to keep his background secret is highly suspicious and irregular.
Bodyguards are not spies, there is no need for them to be 'ninjas in the shadows' – Bodyguards are protectors and guardians and their online profiles, including military and police experience, should be upstanding and visible. The only information that should be kept confidential at all times and under all circumstances is the clients -
Always and without exception.
Christie and Associates