VIP executive protection is probably among the most misunderstood professions of all time. Blockbuster movies and hit TV shows are partly to blame for this. They paint an extravagant picture of VIP executive protection agents and incentivize the public to think of them as tough guys who live the lives of their clients.
The media portrays them as driving deluxe cars all day long and enjoying life with zero sweat involved.
Deconstructing VIP Executive Protection
In real life, EP agents have a stressful time on their hands on most days. They need to be focused and alert, trained, and brave. Seriously, you must possess a number of skills including those above as well as other characteristics to be eligible for an entry-level job in the industry.
In short, this profession is definitely different than most people would imagine.
Why VIPs Need Security
With great power comes great responsibility, and VIPs have that power. This prompts many to endanger them, either intentionally or unintentionally – see: admirers.
On the other hand, experts often discuss the influence VIPs have on their fans. We are all familiar with images of star-crazed fans climbing over each other in an attempt just to touch their beloved heroes. Or with masses of paparazzi out for blood, stalking celebrities, hiding in trash cans or climbing fences just to get that one embarrassing photo.
Apart from that, there are other reasons as well why VIPs need protection:
Government officials often find themselves in danger during conversations or sudden encounters. Affluent people sometimes get during appearances in public. Celebrities, singers and actors, need protection during concerts and live shows.
Sometimes, even ordinary people need VIP-style executive protection if they are threatened for any reason. For instance, they might be in danger due their political or social views.
Skills Needed for VIP Executive Protection
In most countries, the first step a future VIP executive protection agent needs to take is to get basic security training and a regular guard license. However, this is only the bare minimum and the first action in a series.
Let’s say you are familiar with the essential security principles and have obtained a regular guard license. Next, you need to familiarize yourself with first aid, including:
- Emergency First Aid,
- Automated External Defibrillator, and,
- Adult CPR.
In most cases, this will not suffice for an EP position. So, you will have to move onto the highest first aid provision levels. These include: Extended, Advanced, or Standard levels, plus CPR Level C (Adult, Child, Infant and 2 Rescuer), and Automated External Defibrillator.
And again, this is just a small part of the skills and training you need to acquire. Sometimes, pre-hospital care training will also be required to take upper job posts in the industry.
Thirdly, to protect their VIP clients, executive protection agents must be exceptionally skillful in driving, both slow and fast, on any terrain imaginable and in all possible weather conditions. Especially if you plan on working with mobile patrols and alarm response, which requires a superb skillset.
Jack of All Trades
An Executive protection agent needs to reach a professional driver’s level competence if they want to be ahead of the competition. A regular everyday driver’s license just won’t do the trick. This is because the average Joe has zero understanding of necessary driving techniques, vehicle dynamics, and physics. Also, other subtleties related to professional driving aren’t his strong suit.
Finally, the issue the public is most concerned about when it comes to close protection officers is carrying firearms. Most countries in the world don’t allow private security firms to use guns in their work. However, if you live in an area with laws that say otherwise, you should get advanced training, a license, and insurance. Practicing regularly and correctly is a sine qua non if you decide to go in this direction.
Since EP agents aren’t some bullies who enjoy showing off and kicking people’s behinds, they should also acquire special communication skills.
They need this for two reasons:
- In order to understand how to talk to people, and,
- Comprehend the meaning behind their words that could present a threat to their client’s safety
Principles of VIP Security
Several guiding principles are involved in the security of very important persons, including:
Protection, which implies defending VIPs by using protective gear, such as bulletproof vests, bulletproof vehicles during travels, and other methods.
Deterrence, which suggests the instilling of fear in a person about the consequences of their potential actions. Essentially, a VIP executive protection agent needs to demonstrate that he or she can protect the VIP at all costs. For example, the agent dissuades the potential attacker from implementing an assault. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work great with suicide bombers. The reason for this is that they have no fear of the consequences. But still, it’s an important principle.
Access control, which implies controlling the access of the general public to VIPs. Very important persons typically attend public gatherings, political and business meetings. Therefore, access control is known as the most utilized principle in VIP protection. It involves the following methods:
- Checking the food given to VIPs,
- Removing sharp objects close to VIPs,
- Restricting weapon presence in the vicinity of VIPs,
- Scanning members of the public with metal detectors and physical techniques, and,
- Anti-sabotage system, involving minesweepers, explosive detectors, hand-held metal detectors. The point of this is to ensure safety against a bomb-attack.
Cool Perks of VIP Executive Protection
Suppose you get lucky – and obviously have the necessary expertise and skills, you can get paid approx. USD 70 thousand annually as a VIP Executive protection agent. This includes travel benefits.
Not bad for such an exciting but often tense job.
Although it can sometimes sound dangerous and messy, VIP executive protection also largely depends on your character traits. Some will be thrilled about the next day at work and others just shattered to pieces when they find out their shift starts in an hour.
Nonetheless, the coolest perks of the job include:
- Visiting extravagant restaurants
- Driving deluxe cars
- Spending time in high society
- Access to gadgets only found in action thriller movies
Gone are the days of bodyguards sitting in booths and going through newspapers. The job of an executive protection agent offers a lot more diversity and versatility. Hence, boredom will most likely not be on your list of tasks if you plan to work in the industry.
Today’s high-profile individuals and executives are presented with many security risks. Ensuring the personal wellbeing of VIPs is the ultimate goal of executive protection agents. Protecting VIPs is a job that involves a lot of responsibility – because people’s lives are literally at stake.
The work of a close protection agent is remarkably rewarding, although challenging at times. To avoid making rookie mistakes, you should follow the steps provided above in the article. If you want to find a job in the executive protection industry, check out some companies in the industry with open job posts.
Also, keep on exploring the industry before you embark on your journey of becoming an outstanding EP agent.