Private security is a broader career sector than most people are aware. Security guards might work in retail establishments, thwarting would-be shoplifters; patrol industrial complexes to manage access and protect company property; or, they might even serve in the exclusive cadre of VIP security.
What is VIP Security, and Do You Need It?
Images of suits and sunglasses, limo-riding, gun-toting special agent types might come to mind when you think of VIP security. You wouldn't be completely wrong. Sometimes these can be aspects of the job. However, VIP security is a field requiring many skills. Planning and reviewing are as crucial to the job, if not more so, than providing physical security to VIPs.
VIP and personal security takes a holistic approach to guarding their clients. They're not only concerned with the personal security of the VIP, but the well-being of their family and property as well. If it is important to the client, it is a potential security risk and deserves protection as well.
Risk profiling for homes and venues
A central concept for effective VIP security is risk profiling. Security professionals study their client's homes, offices, venues they may need to visit and even the routes between all of these locations, proactively looking for security threats.
Homes need to be reviewed to make sure there is ample infrastructure to meet security needs as well as personnel, which provide the actual eyes and ears for home security. The same is usually the case for where the client works. This may also include having to make appearances at venues periodically.
Venues present a higher risk as they are largely outside the control of a VIP's security team and require coordination with the venue's own security to secure the safety of their client. At the same time, none of this matters if a client doesn't make it safely to the venue and back again. Depending on the danger the VIP faces, security may plan routes to and from any necessary destinations as well as make contingency plans, including alternate routes should an emergency arise.
This brings us to one of the core components of effective VIP security: planning. Car crashes and near escapes may make for great movies, but VIP security's first job is to make sure that this never happens. Planning both how the day will unfold as well as what to do if something goes awry is at the heart of a good security detail. A VIP may be just going about their day as usual, but a good security professional looks at the day more like an orchestrated play being performed, and they are the stage manager.
As we mentioned, VIP and personal security is often forced to work in venues and places they don't have control over. From trade conventions to airports, VIP security operates in an environment where it is understood they are not the final arbiters regarding overall security. Particularly where there is a federal or local law enforcement presence, VIP security has to find the balance that affords maximum protection for their client while not running afoul of other public security systems already in place. Often it will be left to VIP security personnel to negotiate with these other groups to determine how they can do their jobs most effectively.
Tools of the trade
VIP security typically has more tools at hand than other security professionals to do their jobs. However, those tools are only as useful as the person wielding them. In that vein, VIP security professionals typically receive extensive training and certification in different aspects of their job. They may be expected to be firearms experts or have particular hand to hand skills to directly protect their clients. For clients on the move, they may have experience driving an armored vehicle or be a Certified Emergency Vehicle Operator (EVOC) - specially trained to drive in dangerous environments.
Protecting both body and image
One specific aspect of VIP and personal security is what they are trained to guard against. In particular, a client's image may be every bit as important as their body. Well, not really. Bad publicity is far more survivable than actually being attacked. But image is vital for some VIPs to continue earning a living. As such, VIP security guards are trained to protect the reputation of the client just as seriously. This may mean blocking paparazzi or keeping over-eager fans or angry detractors at bay. Security is expected to be a gatekeeper for anything that might go wrong that could damage the client's personal image.
Real VIP security
As you can see, VIP security isn't quite what Hollywood would have us believe it to be. If they're moving between high-speed chases, shootouts and adrenaline-fueled cliffhangers, they won't stay employed long. Real VIP security is about avoiding these incidents altogether. A boring day is a good day for a security professional.
Do you think you may require VIP and personal security services? Are you responsible for the security of an executive? Contact Off Duty Officers to learn more about our VIP, personal and executive security solutions.
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