Executive Protection (EP) or Close Protection has been around in one form or another for thousands of years and started as soon as the “Have’s” found that they wanted to keep their goods from the “Have Not’s” and the policy makers. Movers and shakers decided that there may be people in the streets they did not actually want to rub shoulders with.
The world may have changed considerably in the following centuries, but it remains one in which threats continue to be present with the threat to some individuals higher than others. The range of threat has broadened, the methodology and tools available have become more sophisticated, and some may consider the world a more dangerous place because of this. Alongside these changes, the business of Executive Protection has developed considerably. From its humble and basic beginnings, it has evolved into the choreographed, almost art form level of movement that it can today – provided it is done correctly.
It can be a joy to watch the smooth efficiency of the many cogs in the machine that is a highly trained, experienced, large EP team as they move their Principle, political, corporate or A-lister, from one location to another via multi-vehicle convoy. Provided it is done correctly. Done badly it can be as cringe worthy as a slow car wreck.
Doing it correctly, however, is not that simple a matter and involves a significant amount of planning, preparation, and careful implementation and continuous reviewing. Planning starts with the understanding that EP should be considered an essential and standard travel pre-requisite for many corporate level executives due to the benefits obtained when EP is deployed effectively. Not only by the individual executive but also by the corporation they represent.
Who Needs Executive Protection?
Certainly, not all executives should be allocated a Presidential style EP team and careful consideration of each executive; their role, profile, level and locations of travel, must take place in order to develop their threat profile.
In an ideal world, there would be no need for EP, but that is not the world in which we live. When there is any form of threat an executive should be given a full security detail just in case. However, in the real world, cost considerations must play their part too. Caution and cost: These are just two of the many conflicting factors that must be looked at when determining the appropriate level of protection any executive is to receive. That level should be identified and reviewed on a regular basis, ideally for every trip or operation undertaken.
When looking coldly at EP, particularly from a point of view that has limited exposure to or understanding of the role. One might see that it his costly with little perceived benefit. However, that can be said about many things.
The Cost of Safety
No one likes to pay for vehicle insurance, but you would not drive on the roads if you did not have it. When choosing your car insurance you determine what level you require: Third party only maybe, Third party fire and theft possibly or go the whole hog with fully comprehensive, no excess and yes I’ll have the free toaster please.
Whilst significant at first, after a while the cost of the insurance simply becomes a reassuring part of the cost of safely and comfortably owning, using and enjoying the vehicle.
EP should be viewed with this attitude in mind. Hopefully, over many years you will never need to call on your insurance broker to make a claim. With a high quality, effective EP team operating hopefully you will never need to put them to the ultimate test either.
If you do however, wouldn’t you be happier knowing that you had taken out the best, most appropriate and effective level of cover possible
Once the EP team is set up and operating it is important to continue to review the optimal way of operating each trip in order to get the most efficient and effective services from both a cost and operational point of view.When it comes to overseas trips a large decision is whether to utilize your own in-house team, to use a regionally based local team or a combination. There are positives and negatives on all sides and arguments for each option, some of which are as follows:
Choosing the Best Approach
When it comes to overseas trips a large decision is whether to utilize your own in-house team, to use a regionally based local team or a combination. There are positives and negatives on all sides and arguments for each option, some of which are as follows:
• Familiarity with Principle & Team
• Knowledge of protocols
• Internal manpower cost
• Internal & direct operational control
• Limited local knowledge / contacts
• Too busy for full advance?
• Long-haul flights – costly & time-consuming
Regionally Based, Local, Team
• Good local knowledge / contacts
• Reduced flight costs
• Frees up in-house teams time
• Additional, cost effective manpower when needed
• Access to proven & vetted service providers
• Reliance on external vendor
• Specific external cost
• Lack of familiarity with Principle & protocols
• Limited direct control of operation
As mentioned, each trip must be reviewed to assess the most efficient way of operating. But to my mind, for the majority of travel, an approach that combines the best of both worlds is the correct decision to make.
The familiarity and internal control of using in-house agents for direct support to the Principle is an ideal foundation. Adding on the utilization of a well vetted, proven, and trusted regional partner with local knowledge for advanced work, close support and ad hoc requirements and advice as the operation moves along, provides the best possible solution and the greatest benefits.
The negatives to using a local team, as shown above, can largely be eliminated through the careful sourcing of a suitable vendor who is able to adapt to, blend in with and operate successfully alongside the in-house team.The ultimate goal is to have a flexible, knowledgeable security resource that is able to operate independently as a trusted, recognized and fully accepted extension of the in-house team by all parties concerned including the Principle and to represent the client’s interests to the extent that they are not identified or considered to be an external vendor by many parties they come into contact with throughout the operation.
The ultimate goal is to have a flexible, knowledgeable security resource that is able to operate independently as a trusted, recognized and fully accepted extension of the in-house team by all parties concerned including the Principle and to represent the client’s interests to the extent that they are not identified or considered to be an external vendor by many parties they come into contact with throughout the operation.