Educating those being protected

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Educating those being protected

Being protected is extremely onerous and expensive. Targets — or clients as they are sometimes called — need to know why they are being protected, and understand the mechanisms and philosophy of protection. They must buy off on the security plan, and agree to and support the security measures. The target and the protective staff must work as a team, and each side must understand the needs and desires of the other. Once the target/protector team knows how the other part works, informed accommodations can be made so that the work to be done by each can be done by each.

Executive protection falls loosely into two categories. One is high risk executive protection with the primary threat being kidnapping (usually for targets who can be selected from a group of possible targets, such as one businessman or many) or assassination (usually where no interchangeable target is available: There is only one secretary of state for a given country, for example)b. The second is the unknown risk of a popular figure who may be bothered by their public, and is just trying to have a day or evening on the town without being bothered too much. Note that there can be, by definition, no low risk in the protective trade.

The first category is usually an easier case for education because you usually have a motivated student who is aware of the threats and the consequence of the failure of the protection. Here the philosophy is to best case make the target invisible, using OPSEC to deny information to the bad guys and worst case (the two are not mutually exclusive, of course) to control the environment and access to the target to the greatest extent possible, making an attack too difficult or costly to be carried out, while still allowing the person to function.

The second category — the popular figure — can be much more difficult to educate. One starlet received several threats. Her manager and those around her believed she needed security, so she hired a three-person for protective and then she wandered off and tried to lose security persons. This was a cute game being played by her and her girl friends. She almost believed she needed security, but she acted like security was a new plaything.

Since she really was not familiar with security, this was the joint fault of those hiring us, us, and her. The second day she was fully informed of what security means, what she could expect of us in keeping her safe, and what we expected of her. She was definably no longer used to being talked to in a frank manor, and could have chosen to fire us. As it worked out, she saw very clearly how her game could have been very dangerous not just for her, but for those with her, and even for us.

The remaining weeks went very well, and she began to appreciate the ability and skill of those who secures her and how they “kept the public at a distance,” and insured that no one got so close as to be able to do harm.

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