Close Protection Operational Performance - Defining the Route
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CLOSE PROTECTION OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

CLOSE PROTECTION OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE

“The man who does not take pride in his own performance performs nothing in which to take pride.” 

~ Thomas J. Watson

There are many ways to measure the performance of a company so as to determine if it is doing well. The most common method is to look at its gross or net profit. This, however, isn’t always a reliable way to determine the performance of a company and certainly, within a specialist security provision where threat(s) to life are the reason for that provision, the term, ‘operational performance’ comes into its own meaning in comparison with all other usual businesses’ objectives.   

What is Operational Performance within the context of security service provision?

Surprisingly, no definition exists for what constitutes ‘Close Protection Operational Performance’ – or indeed what constitutes ‘operational performance’ within any security sector outside of Information Technology. Within a specialist service delivery and common organisational ‘Mission’ and ‘Vision’ statements and goals within both government and private sectors, defining the scope of ‘operational performance’ in protective security operations has yet to be determined.  However, overall performance in Close Protection operations are affected and based on, two main influences; the company or organisation delivering the service and the individual providing the service.  I have therefore created one based on both business/ organisation and individual alike:

 “Close Protection Operational Performance is the performance of an organisation or individual against prescribed standards where the objectives of speed, flexibility, quality, costs and dependability are fulfilled or accomplished against a promise, contract or obligation according to its terms.”

The above definition forms the very basis for the reason why it is so influential in consideration to maximising the values, ideals and principles of protective security operations. It encompasses everything associated with the delivery of highest standards concerning protective security operations whether as an individual or as a company (or government unit); operational performance and standards combined with accomplishing objectives against an obligation defines maximising the protective security effort.   But what does that actually mean?

There remains a long list of factors within the scope of the delivery of security operations in general of what constitutes standards and how those standards can be detrimentally impacted from both internal and external causes or influences.  Within the private sector, from the moment a security services provider is selected by a prospective client to the determination of the client’s requirements based on the assessment of threats, risks and the mitigation and control of both in addition to the clients’ preferences.  From the very initial selection and training of those providing the security tactics, techniques and procedure (TTP’s) on the ground to their experience and exposure to protective security operations to systems procurement and installation to client and third-party stakeholder liaison and support acquisition to the presentation, effectiveness and efficiency of delivery and experience of the business line. The whole host of seen and unseen potentials are aspects of security service provision not often considered whatsoever either by the client – or shockingly, even by the provider themselves. 

In consideration to the aforementioned factors, the meaning of ‘Operational Performance’ within Close Protection differs from the standpoint of the user in terms of 4 main perspectives which are dependent on:

For the purpose of this blog we will focus on the Close Protection Candidate and the contract Service Provider.

1)  The Components of the CP Candidate

Candidate Selection

To ensure candidature suitability throughout all training criteria and operational requirements

Standards = Candidate Selection + Training (+ Integrity)

‘Standard’ is defined as a level of quality or attainment. To produce that quality within a service-oriented profession is as simple as understanding that it is the by-product of the level of training you have delivered (or received depending on your outlook or position).  The direct correlation being the better the training, the better the resultant standard.  Standards, or rather level of training one initially receives, is not the only influence regarding maximising the end result in operational performance of a service delivered profession but that it is the level of ability and capability of the individual delivering that service whereby true performance is excelled.  The combination of high-quality candidature combined with high quality training is the formula to deliver best operational performance.  The best example of this is the approach to UK Special Forces; in-depth, demanding selection followed by initial specialist training whereby the training itself forms part of that same selection process.  The result is an outstanding, capable soldier (also as an individual with the required occupational character traits), where the basic skillsets are perfected forming the foundation for further specialist training.   The icing on the cake for Close Protection specifically, is integrity, without which standards in the work place will not exist; it is not only the knowing but it is the doing, as indeed the quote at the beginning of this blog highlights.

The basic components concerning the selection of a CP candidate as an initial start point should be as follows:

1.1       Candidate Doctors Certificate

1.1.1    To mitigate liability, identify risk and determine personality

1.1.2    To ensure mental and physical wellbeing

1.2       Minimum age

1.2.1    To ensure maturity, experience and reassurance

1.3       Mobility and Physical Impairment/ Disability tests

1.3.1    To ensure physical ability

1.4       Medical assessments

1.4.1    To ensure medical fitness

1.5       Physical fitness assessments

1.5.1    To ensure physical fitness

1.6       Physical Appearance

1.6.1    Tattoos (placement & content)

1.6.2    Hair Style/ Colour

1.6.3    Jewellery Piercings (placement)

1.7       Driving License

1.7.1    To ensure experience with which to developThe standard of any service industry is dependent upon the personnel/ staff that deliver that service.  Any candidate selection criteria then must be geared to the service for that candidate is being selected.  Close Protection is hugely diverse in terms of clients/ principals and threats.  Selection of principals’ CP teams often involve criteria specific to those clients/ principals and threats but also to the wishes and preferences of the principals themselves, including to the point of their facial appearance, especially when the principal directly influences the candidature process and far from any legality concerning the Human Rights and Equality Act regarding specific employment discrimination! Determining candidate selection criteria for training however, must focus on the job function with its aims to maximise operational performance.  It is this reason alone why candidate selection is so important.  By virtue of the service, ‘Close Protection’ is ‘close’; close to the Principal, (in terms of distance for the most part), close to the Principal’s staff, close to, and privy to, sensitive information etc, etc. It is fair to opine therefore, that within the service of CP, the higher the quality of operatives, the higher standard of service is, or will be, delivered.

In order to understand what establishes standards within operational performance within CP operations it is important to rewind to the source of not only the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ concerning who and what constitutes that service delivery but also the very nature of the operations themselves.  Within the context of government protection units, the conduct of operation will, (should), directly reflect the input to the training. Where CP as a whole would encompass the subsequent following Training Objectives (TO’s) it is the manner in which operations of that unit undertake where the focus on specific TO’s and TTP’s would dictate the priority.

Naturally, Training Objective headings are broken down into many tactical applications, in themselves training objectives, of which overlap other subject matter headings.  Throughout the course, subject matters are not taught as secluded, separate objectives in their own right; one being taught at a time before moving onto the next until all completed.  They are taught rather by way of introduction, basic, intermediate and advanced teachings that are delivered concurrently with the other resulting in all of them coming together as a form of a holistic approach where at the end of which the student is effective and competent in the full range of all subject matter.  The escalation in difficulty and complexity provides as a learning process whereby the delivery for each subject matter is gradual and safe, and not only provides the maximum learning outcome in a student but through continual assessment and testing, ensuring that an instructor identifies and confirms knowledge, competence and proficiency within the student.

Training per se, must meet specific criteria in its obligations, one of which is that it must accurately reflect the requirements of the workplace (operations).  Operational requirements must be analysed and dissected to decide of what training is required in order for a CP operative to function effectively. This ‘training’ could represent as a requirement in its basic course form or indeed as additional advanced training; more often than not, as a specialism for operatives that wish to focus their provision in one or a couple of specialist areas.  The determination of what constitutes as ‘specialist’ and what should be a basic requirement must not only visit the process of requirements for standard protective security operations as a whole but within the context that those operations are expected to be delivered.  In other words, requirements for Close Protection training and focus of delivery often differ due to this main factor, specifically concerning government led, whether within the Police environment, military and of course private sector.  The United Kingdom’s Royal Military Police Close Protection for example, cater for all training objectives enabling the operatives to work effectively throughout all environments; office meetings within Foreign & Commonwealth Office ambassadorial functions in civilian attire (black ops) to military for senior military command Generals, (green ops).  Conversely, civilian Police protection training, although inclusive of, does not undertake a focus of high-risk environment.  Although covered in general format from taking a 22 SAS lead in anti-ambush tactics, techniques and procedure the course does not embrace the core undertone of overt firearm deployment during standard ops with more a delivery of soft skills and covert firearm presence; training must therefore accurately reflect operational procedure and protocol.

As with their government and military counterparts, private sector training must have inclusion to ensure that the operative is effective in all environments they are expected to deploy.  Industry sector government licensing whereby training core competencies are dictated specifically for the country of the government dictating, should not be followed as the eminence of knowledge, (as exampled in the chapter following), but that delivery should cater for all environments with all associated aspects to ensure that the individual is fit for purpose – within any environment

“There is no restriction or limitation with regards to areas of deployment for a private sector CP operative – there should not be any restriction or limitation to their training…”

4) Components of the Close Protection Service Provider

The components of a Close Protection service provider delivering the highest standards within a company structure and the vital points for any prospective client to consider should be based on the following five main heading:

4.1       Contract Services Company Formation

4.1.1    Legal entity of company with Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurances

4.1.2    Legal compliance in delivery of services

4.1.3    Public Liability & Professional Indemnity including Inefficacy & Contractual Insurance (see note *Insurances below)

4.1.4    Client & employee Service Agreements with Non-Disclosure, Non-Solicitation & Scope of Works

4.1.5    Registered name & company branded logo

4.2       Personnel

4.2.1    Quality, formal training and operational experience & exposure of management

4.2.2    Directorship operational experience of business

4.2.3    Management operational expertise of specialist services being delivered

4.2.4    Client liaison & communication, etiquette & protocol

4.2.5    Vetting & Quality/ formal training and operational experience & exposure of personnel

4.2.6    Selection of personnel for specific client requirements

4.2.7    Management providing effective and continual operational oversight

4.2.8    Database(s)

4.3       Operational Readiness

4.3.1    Response time of management to enquiries

4.3.2    Availability of management in attendance to enquiries

4.3.3    Response time of management to time critical incidents

4.3.4    International scope of in-country local support contacts

4.3.5    Deployment response time of all personnel in all countries of operation

4.4       Service

4.4.1    Effectiveness in assessment of threat, risk and vulnerability

4.4.2    Effectiveness in mitigation and control of the assessed threats and risks

4.4.3    Effectiveness in delivery and management of operation

4.4.4    Effectiveness in administration and communication with client

4.4.5    Effectiveness in meeting the needs and requirements of the client

4.5       Probity

4.5.1    Accuracy & fairness in quotations and charges

4.5.2    Non-corrupt/ strict adherence to a code of morals and ethics

4.5.3    Company solvency and liquidity financial health

4.5.4    Priority of business focus on highest level of delivery of effective risk mitigation and control

4.5.5    Company and management online presentation and conduct

It very much remains a state that any prospective client looking for a protective service rolls the dice insofar as the effectiveness of their choice in provider.  Until such a time where standards are increased in the industry in both Operative and Provider alike, it will remain so.  Only after experiencing a service in the normal day to day function but more importantly, when that service is tested will its actual performance be determined as effective – or not.  As in our Blog – “Close Protection – Buyer Beware!” the Operational Performance of the Operative and Company of your choice could end up being merely just for show…

Richard Aitch
Director of Operations
Mobius International UK Ltd &
Mobius International Ltd

 

Mobius International UK Ltd Close Protection Operators/ Bodyguards are all former specialist government protection unit having served as Personal Protection Officers to the British Royal Family, UK Prime Minister and other ministers, British Ambassadors and Senior Military Command Staff together with the provision of protection to specific persons of a targeted threat.  In effect, we have re-written the commercial/ private sector approach by the delivery of the highest standards in Close Protection. By solely using former government CP trained operators, our level of service is unsurpassed.