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What Are the Methods in Close Protection?

December 31, 2022

What is Close Protection?

Close protection refers to a person or group of individuals who are at risk of being harassed, harmed, or attacked receiving physical protection from a bodyguard or bodyguards (close protection teams). The goal of close protection is to stop harm, loss, destruction, or death. Celebrities, affluent people, CEOs, members of the royal family, and heads of state are the kind of individuals who are usually protected in this way. They are called the principals or protectees.

What Are the Methods in Close Protection?

Close protection is a very tactical type of security service. Close protection operatives are expected to undergo full and in-depth training on how to use a wide range of close protection tactics and methods to shield clients from any possible attacks. So what are the methods in close protection?

The methods in close protection fall under three broad categories which are protection services by vehicle, protection services on foot, and protection services in indoor and outdoor areas.

A. Protection Services by Vehicle.

There are many facets to the method of close protection by vehicle. This kind of protection service undoubtedly goes beyond standard chauffeuring. Vehicular close protection involves the fusion of advanced driving and close protection skills with the sole purpose of always keeping the principal safe. Whilst mobile, there are many risks, traffic is unpredictable, and the actions of other drivers are impossible to control. Thus, close protection by vehicle requires the operative or agent to be a highly-skilled security driver.

The vehicular method requires close protection teams and personnel to always be on the lookout for risk indicators while on the go. They need to be able to detect and avoid any hostile action on the roads. They must also be able to foresee hazardous situations and anticipate incidents that may put them and their principals at risk of harm. Above all, they must have the training, skill, and experience to ensure the safety of passengers at all times, even when arriving or departing from a venue.

Oftentimes, close protection by vehicle will require operatives to work alongside the police and other government agencies to deliver a seamless close protection service.

Close protection drivers may also be required, at times, to perform defensive or offensive driving to escape volatile or dangerous situations. These are qualifications that can be obtained through advanced driving courses such as RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and the IAM (The Institute of Advanced Motorists). Involved here as well is the need to have secondary escape routes in mind at all times.

A security operative under this method may also be required to know how to handle an armoured vehicle. These types of vehicles provide ballistic and blast protection which would be necessary for a principal such as a head of state.

Other general skills that are required under this method include knowledge of First Aid, knowledge of vehicle evacuation techniques and vehicle anti-ambush driving techniques, a background in emergency services, teamwork skills, and so on. It is also a strict requirement that every close protection operative must have a driving licence.

B. Protection Services on Foot.

The primary objective of this close protection method is to move with the principal from one secure location to another as safely as possible within the estimated level of risk or threat. Close protection on foot involves guaranteeing a principal or protectee’s safety in a manner that permits the principal to go about their daily business, whatever it may be, uninterrupted. The ability to maintain that protection while walking is essential. A principal is exposed to many unknown factors, individuals, and risks when they are on foot.

The core fundamentals of protection services on foot include total cover, teamwork, observation skills, communication, correct spacing, adaptability, maintaining the principal’s image, and reactions to threats and attacks. Protection services on foot require security personnel to be exceedingly discrete. This is an ability that can only be developed with years of practice.

A well-trained CPO providing protection services on foot should not be too easy to pinpoint simply by their dressing and positioning. Their positioning must always be precise; they should not be stood to close the principal (except where necessary) while continuously providing 360° cover.

Effective communication with the principal and other members of the close protection team and the ability to expeditiously respond to incidents affecting the safety or security of the principal are essential towards providing secure foot escort. Critical as well are basic SIA licence training and the capacity to conduct efficient threat and risk assessment.

When a close protection team (that is, two or more close security operatives) is providing protection services on foot, adequate knowledge of foot drills and formations is necessary for every member of the team. To carry out successful foot drills, communication, excellent spatial awareness, flexibility and round-the-clock alertness of each member are important.

Finally, it is exceedingly key for every CPO to always have an effective strategy for extracting the principal in the event of heightened risk or an attack.

C. Protection Services in Indoor and Outdoor Areas.

The provision of protection services in both indoor and outdoor areas involves a hybrid service of effective close protection, transit security (both on foot and vehicular), and maximum surveillance in all open and closed areas using superior technologies. Some examples of these technologies include security cameras, security personnel control systems, card access systems, biometric systems, security detectors, and barrier equipment.


The successful protection of the principal is paramount to any close protection operation. Thus, it is important for close protection operatives to maintain constant vigilance and be proficient in all three methods of close protection. This will enable them to react sharply and remain flexible in every possible situation.

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