11 May Close Protection Operations Within a COVID-19 Environment
Close Protection Operations Within A COVID-19 Environment
Mitigating Increased Risk from Increased Distance
I am often asked how can we provide Close Protection when social distancing remains when lockdown restrictions are lifted? Close Protection and ‘social distancing’ can be an odd mix but still very much workable nevertheless. In order to maximise effectiveness and safety, the approach should be conducted in phases;
A) Initiate Sterile Start Point
B) Re-assess threat(s) and risk to those threat(s)
C) Confirm budgetary allowances
D) Implement workaround protective security solutions
1. Testing of Principal
2. Testing of all personnel (Drivers + BG + CPT)
3. If budgets permit and threat/ risk dependent then increase size of team
4. Implement Protective Surveillance
The main difference between what may be a standard approach to CP and a ‘COVID approach’ is distance between the Principal and those providing CP. This may not induce any difference whatsoever if the protective security operation is afforded by way of Protective Surveillance and/ or Low-Profile CP through increased distance. Whether or not an imposed 2m rule would cause issues in the provision of security is wholly dependent on the manner in which that security is usually provided. Companies/ individuals responsible for the provision of CP should confer with the Principal and/ or the Principal’s office in regards to the plan when and where to take risk. It must be understood that blanket rules cannot exist in their entirety and that at times it will be inevitable that closer interaction with the Principal, their items and areas of use will have to be conducted.
Initiating a sterile start point is vital in which to begin the op. Naturally, best practise would be to test each and everyone that would come into the near distance of the Principal – as well as the testing of the Principal themselves. If testing cannot be conducted then it remains down to the professionalism and integrity of those on the team to be honest with themselves insofar as the probability of them carrying the virus without displaying any signs or symptoms. This can only be done if a diligent approach to social distancing has been conducted for at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the op. If all members of the CPT have conducted such then it would be feasible for them to share hotel accommodation, vehicles and to be on foot side by side within the context of safe approach.
Immediate Access to Support Manpower
A backup team needs to be immediately ready to assume the role of anyone on the team who then experiences signs and symptoms of the virus. This is when a decision making process needs to be conducted insofar as nature and delivery of op and the manner in which the CPT have delivered the security. In the ideal world, as soon as one member experiences ANY signs or symptoms then individual concerned should be removed from the deployment immediately and the entire team should be tested or removed for a minimum of 2 weeks. This is when the backup team should then be deployed.
Implement Protective Surveillance Team (PST)
Protective Surveillance is a specialist covert process in which a third party individual, building, area or asset are protected through security methods that are covert, strategic and perceptive. Personnel will not (should not) draw attention or make themselves known to the people during the protection operation. The purpose being to detect, identify and react to hostile surveillance and/ or potential hostile action preparation.
Close Protection should be delivered according to maximising the mitigation and control of risk balanced with the correct approach to minimising the contracting/ spreading of the virus. If budgets permit then Protective Surveillance to be incorporated either as a standalone or in addition to the standard CP. Naturally, the manner of the delivery of protective security will be affected by the activity of the Principal and when and where possible, an overlap provision of both should be conducted.
Muchado with the provision of CP and increasing distance between CP and the Principal has to be balanced according to the circumstance and the assessed threat whether operationally generic or within the immediate area at the time. The Principal should be briefed accordingly noting that protective intervention may have to occur in a manner that would increase the chances of contracting the virus (if it were immediately present) but that the decision will be based on what is the lesser outcome; tangible and immediate threat to harm, injury or death vs possible threat from a virus.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
There is a continuing ongoing debate about the role of face masks or other face coverings (such as home-made cloth masks or scarves) for the general public, as part of the strategy to limit transmission of COVID-19. Consideration to the use of face coverings within enclosed spaces (such as vehicles)
The main consensus emerging from the scientific literature is that the evidence base is inadequate. There is no research on the role of masks worn by the general population on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. There is some research on the role of masks in the transmission of influenza and other respiratory viruses.
UK Government advice concerning the members of the general public and the use of PPE can be found Post Parliament HERE.
The wearing of PPE during the provision of CP should be based on continuing to adhere to Government advice but also the wishes of the Principal.
COVID-19 UK Government UPDATE 11 May 2020
Consideration to allowing people to expand their household group to include one other household ‘in the same exclusive group’.
COVID-19 UK Government UPDATE 13 May 2020
College of Policing new guidleines say Police have no powers to enforce social distancing in England.
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