The FBI estimates that there are an average of 6.7 kidnappings per 100,000 Americans. These statistics include the general population but also executives and other high-profile individuals as well as their families. Many organizations are looking for executive protection services in an ongoing effort to reduce these numbers. These services are usually provided by high-end security firms. A comprehensive risk assessment is usually part of a security company’s initial process for creating an executive protection plan. This is where the risks to the executive are assessed and measured. Then, the security guard company implements the plan to stop these risks from becoming real. This process involves many factors, which may vary depending on the client or their circumstances. The client could be a politician with a controversial stance or the child of a business tycoon. While the former may be more at risk of assassination, the latter could be more vulnerable to kidnapping. Each scenario presents a different set of challenges.
Risk Assessment Doesn’t Fit into a Perfect Mold
close protection services London is not an easy business. Those who have worked in it for a while will know this. Sometimes, one is assigned to a principal who poses no apparent threat. This type of situation can lead to security professionals working alone or in groups falling into complacency. If this happens, it can lead to serious security problems and mistakes.
Take, for example, a situation in which you are asked to guard a beloved philanthropic business executive. An investigation of the principal might reveal that he is a straight-and- narrow person who has made no enemies along the way. One problem with many of the methods for verifying these facts is that they tend not to mention minor incidents in a person’s past. This means that it is difficult to include things such as the subordinate employee the executive may have had to fire. The person affected might feel that their life was destroyed by what they believe to be unfair dismissal. It is not surprising that people have killed others for matters of lesser significance.
Some methods of assessing executive risk do not consider the personal events that could be significant. This could have serious security implications. For example, a love triangle could have left behind a partner that felt their ‘lover was taken’ and still longs to get revenge. This experience, as unlikely as it sounds, may pose a security risk and should be taken into account in the risk assessment.
The Low-Risk case
All of these scenarios show that, while some executives might be considered low-risk cases, there are clearly not many executive who could be considered to be ‘zero-risk’. Security professionals should view this issue from the perspective that “if there were no risk against executive, then it would not be necessary for me to remain here.” Security professionals are employed to protect against certain risks. It is their responsibility to identify and implement safeguards to prevent them. Security professionals may forget this fact if they believe that hiring them is just a matter-of-procedure and not due to actual risk or need. If top executives of an organization have bodyguards assigned to them, it is possible for a newcomer to feel that the bodyguard is part of their ‘perks’ and not a real risk. This would be a significant departure from the correct perspective. This is why top executives need to be assigned bodyguards or security staff. There is always a risk in high-profile positions, regardless of whether they are religious, business or political. Executive protection assignments are not always low-risk. However, there may be cases that are deemed low risk.
Using to Equivalent ‘Low Risk’ with ‘No Ris’
It can have serious repercussions to compare ‘low risk’ and ‘no risks’. This is a business in which mistakes can lead to the death of either the executive or the guard. As previously stated, the first danger in comparing ‘low risk with ‘norisk’ is that the security guard charged with monitoring the executive’s well-being may succumb to complacency and make serious mistakes regarding security arrangements. These lapses are what lead to cases in which executives or their families are kidnapped despite having security staff or bodyguards.
The dangers of incorrectly gauging risk are magnified when you consider the fact that perpetrators will be watching for signs and behaviors that indicate this type of situation by simply reading the environment and guards. Criminals can spot weakness and mood in a secure environment. You can either spur them to action or diffuse their behavior by simply looking at what they see. They might also adjust their plans. They might choose to kidnap an executive rather than assassinate him. If the security environment is near an open body or water and the guards do not have fast nautical transport, perpetrators could easily exploit this security weakness. The guards have been given an easy escape route, which can easily be identified with a simple visual inspection. It is possible to see the extent of harm that could be done if the guards responsible for the client’s safety implemented only safeguards against assassination and no countermeasures to the risk of abduction.
Another danger to comparing ‘low risk with ‘norisk’ is the loss of professional credibility. This is true even if the risk has been identified before it fully manifests. As a security professional, your job is to protect the executive. If you allow the executive to become ill, it will reflect badly on your professional abilities. It should not surprise you that your executive protection position will be lost in the wake of an incident like this.
Executive protection is a highly specialized service. Customers expect that all bases will be covered. It is a very bad sign for the executive protection professional responsible for ensuring the wellbeing and well-being of the principal (and the company they work for), when potential risks are not identified during risk assessment. Even though bad things can happen, they are not always easy to avoid. However, if that happens, it should be obvious in the inevitable investigation that you, as an executive protection professional, had at least anticipated the outcome of your risk assessment. It would indicate that the event was not due to protective measures failing but rather a failure to anticipate risks.
How preparedness can affect the outcome
Many executives have fallen into serious danger due to what appears to be security detail neglect (typically, not intentionally). There are many examples that you can learn from. One of the most well-known cases is that of Princess Diana of Wales. On the 31st August 1997, Princess Diana was killed in a car accident at the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. Her companion was also present, as well as guards who were assigned to protect her and her husband during their night out on the town. After an 18-month French judicial investigation, they determined that the crash was the result of the security team driver. He had been incited to drive recklessly by paparazzi photographers and was impaired by drugs and alcohol. An inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice in London determined that the accident was caused by the negligence of both the security driver and the paparazzi photographers who they were trying to avoid. Proper planning and an accurate assessment should have been made of the security risk. The security team driver in this instance decided to solve the security problem by placing the individuals he was assigned to protect in unneeded danger.