January 11, 2022

Training bodyguards for VIP Protection

The term bodyguard is a little outdated today, however, it is still a term we see used a lot, both by clients and the general public.

Traditionally, a bodyguard has been seen as a big guy with bigger muscles. This is particularly the way bodyguards have been portrayed on TV and in movies. They would act as the first line of defence and the size of them would act as a deterrent to would-be criminals thinking about an attack on their client.

Whilst the term is still around today, the role of the bodyguard has changed significantly over the past decade. Today, a bodyguard as we might traditionally think of them is more likely to be classed as a Close Protection Officer and these individuals are tasked with the protection of VIPs, either working alone, but more often, working as part of a team.

The difference between a bodyguard and a close protection officer

Before we delve into the training required to become a bodyguard or close protection officer for VIPs, let’s first take a closer look at the main differences between the two roles, even if the job titles are used interchangeably.

A traditional bodyguard would involve more reactive work. They would be hired by VIPs as a deterrent and they would be required to respond to potential threats on the fly, usually using their strength and bulk to deal with threats.

The training received by bodyguards in the past would be basic. It might include some general defensive training but would primarily rely on strength and force. It is unlikely that traditional bodyguards would undertake any form of advanced driving training and they would be unlikely to hold any qualifications or documentation like a license for example.

Today, Close Protection Officers (CPOs) work very differently. Instead of being reactive to situations that develop whilst on the job, CPOs are instead proactive in identifying potential threats and mitigating the risk before it happens. This helps to reduce any potential surprises when carrying out their work.

CPOs generally have a much lower profile than that portrayed by a traditional bodyguard. Their role is to be unobtrusive and to allow the VIP to get on with their day-to-day activities with as little disruption as possible.

Training is perhaps the biggest difference between a bodyguard and a CPO. CPOs undertake extensive training both to meet certain qualification requirements but also between jobs in order to retain sharpness and continually develop their skills.

CPOs will typically be trained in risk assessment, unarmed combat (sometimes armed combat), surveillance and intelligence gathering. These are all important aspects in the role of a CPO and showcase the difference between proactive and reactive protection work.

Some CPOs will also be required to take advanced driving courses as part of their role may involve the transportation of the VIP or extraction if there are issues and high-level driving skills are essential to that role.

Depending on the country you work in, some CPOs are required to obtain a license and insurance.

The role of a CPO will often extend beyond just the protection of the individual VIP. It might also be important for a CPO to understand more about the client’s family and routines, data protection, living environment and wider friends and family groups to carry out their role effectively.

Training bodyguards for VIP protection

Bodyguards, or close protection officers as we prefer to call them, must undertake a high level of training to be effective in their role.

At The Chivalry Group, we have a fully registered private training establishment where we can offer comprehensive security and personal training in an industry-leading facility.

We have gone to great lengths to provide real-world experienced security training packages for our staff and our clients that are readily taught at any required location.

Specialist training for bodyguards or CPOs includes:

  • Situational awareness training
  • Critical incident management
  • Risk management training
  • Self-defense
  • Leadership
  • Crisis management
  • Cultural awareness
  • Life skills and mentoring
  • Event management
  • Large crowd management
  • Concert barrier safe process

More specific training includes:

  • Health and safety
  • Communication skills
  • Threat assessment and risk analysis
  • Surveillance awareness
  • Operational planning
  • Route selection and journey management
  • Search procedures
  • Venue security
  • Incident management
  • Conflict management
  • Technology and systems in the security environment
  • Communication, reporting, and record-keeping
  • Firearms training
  • First aid
  • First responder training
  • Unarmed combat
  • Advanced driving

Who we work with at The Chivalry Group

Our VIP Protection Security team have worked with some of the world’s leading figures from all walks of life – from leading sports stars to diplomats and musical icons. Our VIP protection services are wide and varying and we often work closely with executive assistants to arrange complete protection from the airport gate to media liaison, and large-scale security coordination.

With over 100 years’ experience in our executive team, we provide tailored VIP protection security that is discreet and above all, confidential.

Trusted by our clients

In our line of work, trust is everything. When it comes to the close personal protection of VIPs, we have a strong track record of building long term relationships, based on trust.

We have worked in several environments in countries around the world, providing VIP Protection security services to high profile individuals and families from a broad range of backgrounds. Trust is built through our ability and expertise, to understand the individual needs of our clients and the operating environment and to ensure the highest level of personal protection.

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