Understand the importance of self awareness of both yours and the principal’s surroundings…
Recently during a close protection assignment, which involved several hi-net worth individuals and a Saudi VVIP, the following incident occurred;
I was a team leader of a four (4) man close protection detail, my principal and group of friends requested to visit a well known five (5) star hotel which includes a night-club. On arrival at the hotel I instructed two members of the protection detail to carry-out a Recce (reconnaissance) of the venue, which included the common areas, bars, restrooms and night-club, while my 2-IC (second in command) and I stayed with the principal’s group.
At approx 00:15hrs the principal and friends requested to move to the night club, again I instructed two detail members to carry out a Recce of the night club including the restrooms, on returning to me one of the detail informed me of a group of males, four (4) in total that where in the restrooms, whilst in the restrooms one of my detail overheard a conversation that contained racial comments that may have been intended towards two members of the group that we where protecting, at this point the principal and friends where in the night club and mixing with other members of the public, due to the fact that the racial comments where heard I instructed the protection detail that the threat level was now upgraded to ‘Medium – High’ (which means a threat is now realistic and to be on high alert).
At approx 01.30hrs the principal and friends where close to the bar area, at this point a member of the protection detail alerted on radio that one of the four (4) individuals from earlier on (that made the racial comment) was moving towards our location, at this point I noticed the individual, a male medium-build and late thirties walking quite quickly and aggressively towards the principal with what appeared to be a broken glass in his hand, at this point I issued a warning order ‘Attack, Attack’ and my protection detail moved inwards to move the principal and friends from the immediate danger area, while I moved in and intercepted the attacker, bringing him down to the ground and disarming him of the broken glass, the principal and friends where moved to a safe-area (one that we had agreed on prior to entering the night-club) and the detail informed hotel security of an ‘incident’, at which time I handed over to them whilst giving them details of what had just occurred, during this time the principal and their friends where unaware of what had just happened and continued to enjoy the rest of the evening without any further problems.
As you can see from the live incident above, when you are part of a protection detail it is extremely important that you are fully aware of your surroundings at all times, always have a member of the protection detail do a Recce prior to moving the principal, agree on safe-zones within the perimeter that can be used to move the principal should an incident take place (its not always necessary to move the principal out of the building and into the vehicle, abruptly ending the night) by moving them to a safe-zone you and your team can re-evaluate the threat and may decide that it is now safe to stay in the location without either disruption or embarrassment to the principal. Remember the following points;
Always complete a Recce of the location prior to entering with the principal (if you are part of a detail).
Always complete a threat level on the principal and monitor throughout the assignment (this can vary due to location).
Always determine early on where the safe-zones are located and instruct the principal that if a problem occurs that this is where they will be moved.
Always have a code-word for incidents that need to be addressed quickly and clearly, e.g. ‘Wheels-up’ means that the principal is ready to move, get the vehicle ready and in place for departure…
Always minamalise the threat towards the principal, as you can see from the above incident the threat was dealt with discreetly and the principal and friends moved to a safe-zone, with minimal fuss or intrusion keeping it professional and simple.
I hope that you can relate to this incident and understand the importance of self awareness of both yours and the principal’s surroundings…