Close Protection Business - CV’s, Certificates and Scams
I regularly get people asking if they can send me their CV’s and I do save some that might be useful but 100% of the unsolicited CV’s that are sent to me are deleted.
I have been in the world of security and investigations for over 30 years and know enough people to help me with the jobs that come my way, so I do not need to collect CV’s.
Many years ago, I used to send out CV’s and yes, I did get work and they opened the doors to entry level CP work. But my first jobs were more down to the fact that I was living in London and available to work at short notice. But in the 1990’s the close protection industry was a very small world, not like today where virtually anyone can get a SIA Close Protection badge and be a qualified “Protection Specialist” in a blink of an eye.
After I had initially got several close protection jobs I never really sent out my CV as I usually heard of jobs via word of mouth and got the jobs because I knew others working on them or those who knew the person recruiting.
The thing that a CV cannot tell you about a person is if they are trustworthy. Too many people put on their CV’s that they are hard workers, loyal and trustworthy etc. But these are just words and in reality, mean absolutely nothing. If I do not know you, how can I trust you, because you tell me I can? Sorry, I was not born yesterday, and have seen and dealt with too many screw ups over the years to put any trust in someone that I do not know. And even if I know someone there are always limitations!
If I am supplying others to work with a client, I have to know that firstly they can do the job properly and secondly that they are not going to try to screw me over and steal the client. This is something that is very common in the close protection industry.
I have seen and heard of numerous times where someone has been working with a client and they decide to offer their services directly to client and cut out their employer. The close protection operative thinks they can make more money and usually offers the client a cheaper price than their employers are charging. I have also had calls from my guys when the clients have asked them to work directly for them and cut me out. Luckily, I tend to use people who are a little wiser than most and they realize that if the client will try to screw me over, they will screw them over as well. So, better I deal with the clients and that way they know they will get paid.
One thing that is always a red flag for me is a company that is constantly putting out adverts for CV’s for close protection jobs. If they are an established company then why do they need a constant flow of workers? There are not that many real close protection jobs out there and there are always plenty of good and experienced people looking for work. If they are an established and reputable company then they should know enough people or be able to get people via recommendations, right?
The truth is it’s an old marketing ploy. These companies think that by constantly asking for CV’s and putting up fake job postings that people will think they are busy and successful, and this will attract clients. If they are running close protection courses, it helps to attract students who will think these companies have work for them after they have completed their courses.
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Realities & Wisdom from the World of Bodyguards & Private Investigators
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Now what actually qualifies as decent qualification these days is very arguable, and we have to make clear difference between licenses and qualifications. A license is something that is issued by a government agency that says you have passed a basic skills course that enables you to work in a specific industry. If a novice driver had just done a two-week driving license course, would you hire them to be an executive chauffeur? I doubt if you or anyone else would, but people expect to do a 140-hour SIA close protection course and be off protecting people as soon as they are given a badge.
I do not blame the people doing the courses for their unrealistic perspectives, I blame the training companies who are selling fantasies to people who are just looking to better themselves and make some money. Sadly, these people usually end up in debt after paying for their close protection courses and never getting a job.
The biggest scam I am seeing at the moment as far as courses are concerned is the Hostile Environment Close Protection Course (HECPO) that is accredited by some UK accreditation companies. It would be interesting to know what the Hostile Environment and firearms experience of those that accredited the course had, I expect none. From what I have seen of the curriculum it’s a basic firearms course that uses very limited types of firearms. It’s basic course as it is open to novice shooters who after a few days will be able to work in hostile environments if you believe the hype!
Also, what relevance does the Hostile Environment Close Protection Course (HECPO) have to close protection in today’s world? Well, about zero! The security contractors’ jobs in Iraq are virtually non-existent, and the reputable companies are only employing people with previous Iraq experience. Same with Afghanistan, and what is also interesting about Afghanistan is that the government has already stated all foreign security personnel must leave the country by September 11th, 2021.
So, where are these Hostile Environment Close Protection Operators going to be running around with their plate carriers, helmets, and carbines? London, Paris, New York, Monaco or Dubai? How about absolutely no where! For the realities of working armed click here to read my article “Working Armed Internationally”
I pity the people that are being fooled into paying for these courses thinking it will help them get a job. Personally, if someone sends me a CV with a HECPO course on it then I deleted with a shake of my head because this guy or girl has been conned.
Someone I have known for too many years, who is not in the security industry, but was in the British Army with me said recently they were thinking of getting the SIA close protection badge and doing a refresher firearms course and then trying their luck at getting some armed work… Well firstly, you are not going to get armed work in U.K., guns are banned, so where did he think he was going to work? That left him scratching his head and trying to justify his brain farts!
Now, think about what I said earlier about hiring a chauffeur who was a novice driver who had just done a two-week course. Now apply this to firearms… Would you hire a chauffeur who had not driven for 25 years but had just done a two-week refresher course… Maybe if you were desperate… To become and stay competent with firearms takes a lot of training and muscle memory, if people are telling you, it only takes 10-days they are talking out their asses.
The other big issue these days is that many of the instructors teaching the close protection courses have no relevant close protection experience. They might have been in the police, military or worked PSD in Iraq or Afghanistan, but all that is completely different than working commercially in U.S., Europe or in a hostile environment.
The main difference is that commercially you have no support from an umbrella organization who will babysit you if things go wrong. Commercially if things go wrong, you are on your own, so you better know how to operate because crying victim and expecting others to come and bail you out is not going to happen.
So, ensure that if you are doing a close protection course the instructors can prove they have actually provided close protection services commercially. If the instructors are teaching armed close protection courses, ensure they have actually provided armed services and by this I do not mean they were just in the Army or police at some point.
I have heard many people state that you need to have been in the army or police to be able to provide close protection services, I will say this is complete rubbish! Being in the military or police can help to open doors but, I know personally plenty military and police personnel who I am sure have brilliant CV’s, but I would not trust with a tooth brush and tooth paste.
I have dealt in the last few years with serval members of Greek Special Forces, which are in reality are conscripts that do 14 months total services. Even though they seem to love telling everyone they special forces I never really saw any basic knowledge at all of tactics or weapons systems apart from their standard issue G-3. One clown I was dealing with was using a 1930’s sword and sorcery books as one of his reference books for pressure points for self-defense. But he was special forces… Maybe the reason the Turks are afraid to invade Greece is because they know that Greek Special Forces read magic books and can cast spells…!
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What most people do not realize about most militaries, and I know this for a fact with the British Army, is that you do not need to be that competent or motivated to get ahead. As long as you are a bit fit, not too stupid, do not get into too much trouble and of course, kiss the right asses and your career is made. You do not really have to work, just bimble a long and you will be given promotions and courses.
I know people who I served with in the British Army who have had distinguished military careers and I will say 99.9% of them I would never consider giving a job, as I know their careers were built on backstabbing and kissing ass. The reason they stayed in the military was because they knew they could not hack having to work, hustle, and deal with the realities of the real world. Pay checks are not guaranteed in civvie street, especially in the close protection business.
Now, let me mention someone I have known a few years who is working very hard and doing some very good stuff. This gentleman in his mid-20’s has no military or police experience, never done a formal close protection course but has had some excellent mentors, he has no licenses or guns because he does not need them.
This gentleman works with a prominent European DJ and has worked in some very exclusive venues and some very shady venues, where I know for a fact most HECPO instructors, to put it politely, would fear to tread… Or just get battered and bounced very quickly… When his client is playing he can be spotted behind them, usually dancing and deflecting people trying to approach his client with a joke and a smile. Due to his communication skills, he can defuse most potential hostilities quickly… If not, then a one punch knock out will solve any potential issues. He trains hard, works hard, and understands how the protection business works. Would I give this gentleman a job, defiantly… Would I give a job to a unknown ex-British army sergeant major a job who sent me a unsolicited CV, defiantly not!
Hopefully, this short article has opened your eyes a little bit to the realities of the close protection business. CV’s can open doors but the best tool for gaining employment is networking. By networking people get to know you and hopeful see that you are competent and trustworthy.
There are some very good training companies out there, even among those that provided the British SIA qualification, but always check and verify the experience of the instructors. If you are spending your money and time on a course, make sure the skills you are going to be learning are relevant to the environment and work you are hopefully going to be doing.
People are fixated with tacticool certificates these days and have seem to have forgotten that the reason for training is to be able to protect themselves and others. Remember, certificates won’t stop a bullet or a blade!
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This book is relevant for bodyguards, investigators & those working in hostile environments.
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