26 March 2024

Hire a Close Protection Officer for Yourself

There are dangers lurking everywhere. And if you’re a high net worth individual or a public figure, you’ll be more aware of these dangers than anyone else. Close protection is commonly used to provide peace of mind and to protect individuals with an increased risk of being a target for theft, terrorism, kidnapping or stalking.

If you need to hire close protection for the first time, the task can be very daunting. After all, you are essentially putting your life and your safety into this person’s hands. You need to know that they will be able to offer the services they are advertising and won’t freeze in a high pressure moment.

In this guide, we’re looking at some of the steps you should take when hiring reliable security for yourself so that you can rest assured that you will be protected in all instances.

Ask for recommendations

If anyone you know has close protection, ask them for recommendations. Perhaps they used an agency to match them with the right close protection officer. Or maybe their close protection officer can recommend someone they trained with or whom they have worked with in the past. A personal recommendation is always a great place to start.

Create a clear job description

Create a clear job description

Make it clear exactly what you are looking for. This could include a list of needs and wants and should be used to create a job profile for the close protection officer. Do you need round-the-clock protection? Or are you just looking for support when you are in more perilous situations? 

Does the candidate need to travel with you? Do they need to coordinate with your home security team? Are you worried about specific or general threats? All of this information will help to create a specific job profile that will make it much easier to find the right candidate.

Check their credentials

While anyone can work in private personal protection, it makes sense to choose someone with the right training and experience. An SIA-registered close protection officer will have gone through an intensive 18-day course that covers everything they need to know to provide personal protection to clients like you. 

To secure this licence, they also need to agree to a criminal and mental health background check. This offers added reassurance that the person is up to the task. It is possible to choose someone without an SIA licence, but you would need to be aware that they don’t have the same training or backing of a professional body.

Ask for references

Ask for references

A good close protection officer should be able to provide references from previous employers. If they cannot provide a reference, or the references they provide aren’t glowing, this could be a red flag that they aren’t up to the job. They may impress you at the interview stage, but then lack the skills and experience to excel in the role. When your life is on the line, you want to make sure you’ve got the right person in your corner.

Plan an effective interview process

The interview needs to assess the broad range of skills you need from your close protection officer. This includes the hard skills such as situational awareness and planning as well as soft skills such as communication skills and timekeeping. By asking situational job interview questions, you can get a better idea of their training and experience. 

If you are working with an agency, they will have pre-screened candidates for these skills and will match you with the ones most likely to be a good fit. This means that your interview can focus on finding the right personality, someone you get along with on a day to day basis.

Try a trial shift

Try a trial shift

There’s no better way to get a sense of the work someone does than with a trial shift. You need someone who is going to take control of the situation immediately and not wait for permission to act. If they are turning to you to check if things are okay, this could be a sign that they aren’t up to the challenge. But if they confidently take control and are happy to jump straight into the role, this is a promising sign.

Final thoughts

Hiring a close protection officer for personal security can seem like a daunting task, but it could also be enjoyable. Close protection is a very interesting role that attracts people from all walks of life. 

By taking the time to get to know candidates and checking if their values align with your own, you are more likely to find a close protection officer who helps to protect you from the very real threats you are concerned about. Remember that you aren’t hiring someone to be your friend, you are hiring someone to be able to identify and avoid threats, as well as dealing with any situations that arise. That said, many people find a friend for life in their close protection officer, due to the mutual respect and close connection involved in the relationship.