• Roman Walde

The Bodyguard Myth (Part II) - The real work behind the job

By Roman Walde - Close Protection Agent, Former Swiss Police Officer, member with the International Association of Personal Protection Agents (IAPPA), Book Author, and Security Consultant

Close protection agents, bodyguards, or whatever we prefer to call them, have to act intelligently, vigilantly and with absolute foresight. Today, in the second part of this series, we will show you how much planning and preparation is behind what we see on the surface.

The Different Areas of Personal Protection

Professional bodyguards go through extensive training so they can detect sensitive situations ahead of time. This way, wild car chases, fights, shooting and action scenes as the ones seen in Hollywood can be avoided.

Think of an IT protection department. They shouldn't spend their time trying to recover or destroy files stolen by hackers but finding threats and their own weaknesses before they take place. They should close the gaps so so attacks can't even occur. You don't hear anything about the best IT security departments. Because there's nothing to report. All that Hollywood stuff? It's running after hackers and trying to recover stolen files.

This might sound boring but brings us to an absolutely important point: the real personal protection does not only consist of the protection agents who are directly on site but also of a complete team with complementary tasks.

Teamwork in Personal Protection

When talking about executive or VIP protection, it can be mainly divided into two areas: The direct personal protection (sometimes called "close protection"), i.e. the agent near the protected person, and the indirect personal protection (also called extended personal protection), the intelligence. The task of close-range personal protection is probably known to most people, namely the direct guard of the client. But what is that “intelligence” anyway and what is it needed for?

Intelligence as Part of Personal Protection

Personally, I would define intelligence and its benefits this way: "Intelligence is the connection of various measures and precautions which serve to gather information in order to prevent attackers from preparing for and attempting to harm the protected person and their inner circle". This means collecting, evaluating and analyzing information - extensively - in order to identify dangers and risks in advance. With that knowledge and with the implementation of strategic measures, the threats can be kept away from the protected person seamlessly.

Analyzing Information

Now that you know how intelligence works in personal protection, you can decide for yourself: Is it important? Absolutely. Because professional (i.e. intelligent) personal protection only works with intelligence. Dangers and risks will always exist, but knowing where they lurk will help enormously to ensure the safety of the person being protected and of all those involved. Information can be provided by different means but it is crucial that it be always up-to-date and exchanged with the team. This way, threat levels can be reassessed depending on new information and proper measures can be taken.

Recognizing Suspicious Behavior

Nowadays, many aspects of the job can be done better and easier with the use of technology. However,