No matter what tier of close protection operative training you have attended so far, there is always more to learn. From route reconnaissance to formations to vehicle search, the list is endless, if we are being frank.
In fact, close protection operative training stops only when the CPO leaves the security business, not earlier. That is, if the protection professional is interested in advancing their career, in any case.
Note: Before attending training sessions, it certainly helps if you already have a police or military background. Still, this doesn’t constitute a requirement for most CP courses, but it will help you get on more protective details and work with more principals.
Usually, the security team in charge of handling a client’s immediate surroundings prepares itself for attacks, accidents, or threats. However, many are poorly equipped to deal with personal medical emergencies, including anaphylaxis and heart attacks. This fact rings true especially when considering distant areas, far away from medical facilities.
Take, for example, Australia or Indonesia. Off-road championships there can prove deadly if remote medical support isn’t onsite. What’s more, many participants of such exclusive events stem from the high-net-worth eschelon. Thus, most of them have assigned security personnel that follows them around. But have the latter attended close protection operative training emphasizing medical support? That’s debatable, to say the least.
Any client legitimately expects to stay alive in the CPO’s presence. Therefore, medical standards and tactical criteria need to inform any training curricula. So, let’s focus on that first.
Medical Emergencies and Close Protection Operative Training
The Executive Director at the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence, Fred Burton, recently said something that many security professionals know by heart. He told the previous IPSB conference attendees that “the most likely threat an EP specialist will encounter is medical.”
When you think about it, it’s baffling to learn that many CP/EP teams don’t have a designated medical professional to handle the health issues of the principal. For instance, let’s consider that the client or their entourage suffers from severe ailments. Further, let’s assume that their children may also have complex medical needs. This further problematizes the situation if a stroke, heart attack, or any other conditions occur while away from health services.
That’s where your close protection operative training kicks in.
EPAs and CPOs constitute the de facto first responders in medical emergencies that involve their clients. However, even if you can’t afford to learn about providing medical support due to an overwhelming workload, consider employing medically trained specialists. They could provide medical oversight to your client and make you look professional in the eyes of the principal.
However, the outsourced medical staff may not want to follow you around if your client travels plenty to more dangerous places. For instance, security experts deem most regions in the African continent risky. From Nigeria to the Central African Republic to South Sudan to Lybia, the list goes on and on.
It may be better for these kinds of situations to have adequately trained CP/EP staff with a strong background in medical care.
Another advanced level of close protection operative training goes under the name of location security. This term differs from personal protection in that it entails fostering protective efforts at fixed locations, including:
- Public venues, and other places.
With principals spending a lot more time in fixed locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, security professionals need also be well-versed in this part of the job. Hence, any CPO training must have at least one piece of its contents dedicated to this topic to ensure the safety of the HNWI, VIP, or other high-ranking individuals.
For all intents and purposes, the training instructor must teach you to make the job of bad actors hard and the life of the principal easy. That is the main foundation from which all security measures stem.
But, of course, we should note that the principal is also taking responsibility for their own safety. Either by doing or not doing something. In fact, they allow for the prospect of security being commensurate with the threat. So, let’s dissect this more in the following section.
Conducting an Impeccable Advance
Before traveling to the residence or other fixed locations with the principal and their entourage, first, you need to consider some elements. For instance, the Residence Security Team ought to have collected plans, maps, photographs, and drawings of the relevant places. Doing so will provide them with an opportunity to have a sense of where some of the following items are located:
- Security fences, lights, and bolts,
- Power, lighting points, switches,
- Central heating,
- Phone lines and phones,
- Oil, gas, water tanks, pipelines,
- Doors, gratings, windows,
- Helicopter landing zone,
- Vents and chimneys,
- Lift shafts and lifts, and others.
In addition, it would be best to organize patrols, mount CCTV, and place lights and sensors where applicable. Further, to bypass avoidable problems, it’s wise to conduct comprehensive searches of the whole fixed location. Doing so will allow you to ensure the removal of potential bombs, hidden cameras, or other unwanted items.
Thirdly, you need to stay in touch with local agencies, such as the fire brigade and police. They could be of assistance if you need them to respond quickly for obvious reasons. Last but not least, it is vital to learn how to operate on intruder devices and other equipment so as to minimize malfunctions and tampering attempts.
Of course, a word of advice is in order here: You should do this well before your principal arrives on site.
The Ultimate Advice
Regardless of the amount of close protection operative training you have engaged in over the years, nothing beats experience. Yes, it’s valuable to have attended courses, master classes, and in-person sessions. However, a vast portion of that seems mostly impractical when you’re on your first detail — or even your tenth CP operation.
The thing is: Stuff happens for no apparent reason and that’s where experience makes all the difference.
For example, the principal or their children leave the property unexpectedly, under no supervision by the security team. Or they decide to post photos of their location online. Doing any of these things can put their lives in jeopardy, making the job of the CPO a nightmare.
Therefore, before deciding to attend any advanced levels of close protection operative training, ask yourself: Does this course promise to teach me these skills and prepare me for the unpredictability of the CP/EP profession?