Edson Tiger on Royal Duties
We were recently asked to provide security for a visit by HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall to Plymouth where she opened the new BBC South West Regional Centre. We were of course very honoured to play our small part in this event working closely with our client the BBC and our friends at Devon and Cornwall Police. Our role was to act as the advance party, control access and provide over watch of the venue and surrounding area in support of the principal’s close protection team.
This was a rather unique assignment but we do provide complete close protection services in the UK and overseas for a number of clients ranging from celebrity protection at high profile media events in the UK to client protection teams working with the United Nations in Africa. But whatever the environment it’s important that operators have the right core skills and experience.
The establishment of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the introduction of licensing for security and close protection professionals has provided a welcome regulatory framework but this has its dangers too. Before the creation of the SIA and introduction of licensing, operators were purely judged on their first-hand experience and previous training within the Armed Forces or the Police. Now in practice anyone can attend a basic SIA Level 3 course, take the exam and become a licensed close protection operator whatever their background and regardless of previous experience.
We also run SIA recognised Close Protection courses but only accept experienced military and police personnel who already possess some relevant experience and training. Equally our course goes beyond the basic SIA syllabus and includes additional practical elements such as physical intervention and more advanced foot and vehicle drills including vehicle cross-decking and extraction in contact.
This reflects what we expect of our own operators, the vast majority of whom are former Royal Marines. As well as being SIA licensed in order to work for us in the UK or overseas they must possess the right experience, abilities and character. This includes the ability operate in low profile and covert close protection roles, being able to operate unnoticed when clients don’t wish it to be known that they have a close protection detail.
David Curran MA FCIPD MSyl