You will consider this blog to be very low speed in terms of the tacti-cool factor. Yet, I guarantee it will be very high on the ROI factor for teams moving up on the maturity level scale of their detail. So, let’s talk about how documents transform the effectiveness of Executive Protection and Residential Security.
When somebody asks me to help audit EP/RST teams, one of the first issues that jump out at me is the lack of the 3Ps: Policies, Procedures, and Protocols.
The problems with missing the 3Ps are manifold, but here are a few:
- How can we train people to the same standards if no one writes them down?
- Can we expect people to perform the same tasks in the same way if they don’t have the same information?
- How can we correct mistakes that people make if there is no written form of the 3Ps that tells us the proper way of handling/behavior?
- Not having written and approved/signed policies, procedures and protocols is a massive liability to the team/organization/client.
Why don’t they exist?
- Management simply doesn’t know what they don’t know.
- No one on the team can write them.
- No one cares, and no one thinks they are needed.
- The legal department doesn’t exist in the organization, so no one ever asked for them.
- Ad hoc short-term teams.
- Leadership turning a blind eye or thinking/hoping that nothing will go wrong.
- The maturity level of the organization/team at the beginning stages.
- They are a pain to keep updated and current.
Leave Nothing to Chance
If they do exist, they are often scarce, don’t exist on paper as an official document signed off on by the higher powers in the organization, and they come in as many versions/interpretations as there are agents.
Most ― if they exist ― are handed down verbally and with no actual details as part of OJT (on-the-job training). This is, of course, unacceptable in any professional organization.
Imagine a corporation without any written policies, procedures, or protocols. How long would they last if everything was left up to chance or nothing existed in writing to follow? It would be chaos.
Executive Protection and Residential Security is serious business, and everybody should treat it as such. That is, if we want other departments to look at us as a professional entity that belongs in the organization.
Having the 3Ps in place shows structure and professionalism. It proves that nothing is left to chance. It makes the security department an equal player with other departments, like Legal, HR, Finance, and Facilities.
Defining the 3Ps
Let’s first outline the 3Ps so we know how to use them correctly.
Here are the short versions of the definitions:
Policy ― a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual.
Procedure ― an established or official way of doing something.
Protocol ― a system of rules about the correct way to act in formal situations.
Guidelines ― a general rule, principle, or piece of advice. Often inserted into one of the 3Ps.
Now we know the definitions of these all too important words in Executive Protection and Residential Security. Hence, the very first document to create should be a policy template that specifies the format (header size, font of the header, main body font, and font size). Also, it should entail all its components, so we can standardize how we write them.
Having 20 policies with 20 different fonts and sizes and formatting is also a big no-go for me. And we all know that is what would happen if we don’t have a policy template. In fact, Executive Protection and Residential Security lean largely on policies.
Here are a few ideas of what you could include in your policy template. Of course, you will not always use all sections. It depends on what type of document you are writing.
- Document Title: Travel Policy (for example)
- Introduction/Purpose Statement: What is it about? What’s the reason for having it?
- Summary: Write the entire document, then come back and insert a summary near the top for anyone in the organization to read without going through the whole document to get an overview.
- Policy statement: What is your organization’s policy specific to the topic?
- Procedures: Step-by-step instructions for routine tasks and operations. Ask the people who actually perform these tasks for help in writing the steps.
- Conduct: Guidelines for proper behavior and restrictions on agent behavior. What are the consequences of a violation?
- Reporting requirements: How do the agents report an incident or violation? What’s the procedure for reporting?
- Approval requirement: Who signs off on the 3Ps/signature/date section, COO/Director/CEO/Manager/Legal?
- Location: Where anyone can find the 3Ps after approval; binder, hard drive, software program.
Now that we have a template, anyone on the team should ― in theory ― be able to do at least a rough draft of your next PPP.
Executive Protection and Residential Security on Steroids
You don’t think the legal team will ask for a weapons policy when you come asking for insurance. Or, the COO won’t ask for a full detailed background investigation policy for house staff or employees or what the radio or fitness protocols look like, or the badging procedures.
If you cannot provide these, your department will lose credibility and look amateurish.
You need to develop the 3Ps as the team grows into areas where needed or when you buy new equipment, or they take on new responsibilities. This is Executive Protection and Residential Security on steroids. For example, the client buys a new yacht or private plane that leads to several new policies, procedures, and protocols.
Don’t be caught with your pants down when it’s too late. For example, suppose your agent has caught a trespasser.
The lawyers start asking: How it was handled and what the “trespassing policy” looks like, as well as the procedures for recording the incident and who was notified in what order, and what the training has been for the agent regarding incident response. See how quickly things can go south if you have no answers to these questions?
Can you do RST patrols without a patrol procedure? Sure, but eight people will do it eight different ways and respond to things in eight different ways.
How can you correct how they do something if you don’t have a set of procedures for how they should patrol? How can anyone be held accountable? The When, Where, Why, How must all be specified to standardize our “product.”
Connecting the Dots
Integrate all your documents to make it easier to jump around in them. Use hyperlinks. The effectiveness of Executive Protection and Residential Security depends on it.
For example, take a Taser Operating Procedures document in this document, use links in the policy to find the “checking equipment in and out form,” “the incident report policy and form,” the calendar for battery and cartridge replacement, the “training policy” and “force continuum policy.”
See how things are connected now? No more having to search around to find a policy, then after reading it, you are looking for the incident report form or the training calendar. It is 2021. Use the tools available to streamline how easy it can be.
A few suggestions to get you started with what Ps you could potentially need as an RST/EP detail:
- Fitness protocol,
- Briefing protocol for new agents,
- Use of force continuum,
- Team travel policy,
- Weapons policy,
- GSOC scheduling policy,
- PTO scheduling policy,
- Travel policy,
- Alarm protocols,
- Intruder/trespasser protocols,
- Visitor procedures,
- Gate programming procedures,
- Medical scenario procedure,
- Panic/duress alarm procedures,
- Range practice qualification procedures,
- Firearms handling procedures,
- Patrol procedures,
- Badging station procedures,
- Incident report template and writing procedures,
- Agent corrective counseling form procedures,
- Taser operating procedures,
- Vehicle inspection policy/procedure,
- Social media policy/procedure,
- Expense policy/procedure,
- Agent conduct policy/procedure,
- Laptop and cell phone policy/procedure.
You get the idea! Most of these are specific to the security structure you are in. For all the “normal” Ps that come with the job, you will find those in the company handbook you received upon hiring.
What Comes Next
Once you put the 3Ps in place, you can expect to see:
- Less chaos.
- Your team running more smoothly.
- Quickly identifying and addressing mistakes and hiccups.
- Consistency in the agent’s practices. They know their responsibilities and what everyone expects of them.
- Consistency from a client perspective. The team appears as a well-oiled machine providing consistent service.
- Higher confidence in agent job performance.
- Improved reputation of the security organization in the company structure.
You can also use them as:
- Performance measures of the agents for QBRs/Raises/Bonuses.
- Training refreshers and training tools.
I understand it is never fun to write these, but they are so important. Once you have caught up on the 3Ps, the workload of keeping them up-to-date and adding new ones will become easier and take less time to complete.
In the end, in Executive Protection and Residential Security, the benefits far outweigh the risks of not having them.