The modern Bodyguard, or Close Protection Officer, is generally completely different from the common perception that the general public has. Most people if asked would describe a Bodyguard as a large strong man, able to push anyone out of the way. The sort of person that you don’t want to annoy, and generally talks with a grunt, wearing big gold chains pushing through the crowd. Well this couldn’t be further from the truth.
So what is a modern Bodyguard? For starters, we don’t generally refer to ourselves as “Bodyguards”. We are professional Close Protection Officers who, here in the UK, are licensed by the SIA (Security Industry Authority). A Bodyguard, is the name given to the specific individual that is responsible for a client, and is generally one person amongst a team of Close Protection Officers, of course this will vary depending how the CP Team (Close Protection Team) are trained.
What about what a Bodyguard or Close Protection Officer looks like? Well, contrary to popular belief you don’t need to be over 6 feet tall, weighing 18 stone with biceps to rival Arnold Schwarzenegger, although in some situations having someone like this on your team could be helpful. Most CPO’s (Close Protection Officers) are average height, average build, and generally just average looking people with good levels of fitness.
I can hear you asking yourselves how an average size man can be a Bodyguard or CPO to anyone. Well the reason is simple, but not very obvious to those who do not work within the industry. The whole idea of Close Protection is to keep your client safe and free from embarrassment, harassment and harm. Your job as a Close Protection Officer is not to go out and bash everyone that gets in close protection London your clients way. It is to plan for a safe day and avoid confrontation at all costs. To be an effective Close Protection Officer you need to have common sense and be able to think outside the box. You need to be able to plan the safest possible way for your client to carry out his daily duties without infringing on his routine. If you end up in a situation where you have to use force then you have already failed part of your plan.
So what happens if you do have to use force? All Close Protection Officers train in some form of control & restraint/ hand to hand combat. Some train in martial arts and others just have a few small skills that enable them to deal with a threat effectively. Once a Close Protection Officer is in a confrontational or violent situation his job is not to stand and fight. He needs to deal with the potential threat as quickly and efficiently as possible so that he can get back to providing protection to the client. This requires a calm and level head and you cannot let your emotions take over because once you do that, you can lose sight of your aim, to protect your client.
Another misconception is that all Bodyguards are ex-military/special forces soldiers. This is not the case either. To be an effective bodyguard you need to have certain traits and abilities which are common among service men/women which I can only assume is a contributing factor to this misconception. The ability to sit or stand in one place for hours with no break and still remaining observant being one of those traits and skills that is very common among the Military. But that doesn’t mean that civilians aren’t capable of the same. There are many civilian Close Protection Officers who are just as valuable as their ex-Military counterparts.