Close Protection Operative

Close Protection Richard Aitch

Best Close Protection Book In Circulation

A close protection operative (CPO), or Bodyguard as more commonly known to the public, is paid to protect either an individual or a family, referred to as the ‘principal’ which could well be politicians, business men and women, celebrities or even royalty against any possible threats that may cause them harm or distress, such as violence, kidnapping or general threats to their well-being, the role is extremely important for the safety of the principal and the CPO must be on form at all times. Although not an easy role it can be very rewarding and well paid, making close protection one of the most popular and sought after career choices among job seekers in the market today.

Most CPO’s are employed through private companies who are hired by those who seek protection. No matter where in the world you live there is always someone who is in the need of protection. Bear in mind not all jobs will be the same so it’s advisable for operatives to gain a wide array of skill sets to be prepared for any situation and make yourself more employable.

What Close Protection Training Involves

A close protection course typically involves intensive training that runs continuously from start to finish, it’s important to find a training company who have a high quality professional service and a high pass rate, it is advisable to do your research before enrolling on any course to make sure you will be ready for the active role when the training course is finished.

After you have gained the correct qualifications you will still be required to attend future courses to gain more skills and to refresh your current skills as you may not use them in the field for a long time and lack experience with certain situations.

Whilst on Close Protection Level 3 training course you will learn the following subjects extensively:

Roles and Responsibilities of a Close Protection Operative, Law and Legislation, Attributes of a Close Protection Operative, Interpersonal Skills, Conflict Management, Teamwork and Communication, Person Searching, Vehicle Searching, Foot Drills and Formations, Security Surveys, Navigation and Route Planning, En-bus and Debus procedures, Convoy drills, Threat and Risk Management, Protective Driving, Advanced Driving, Surveillance Techniques, Operational Planning, Venue/Office/Meeting/Security, Small Arms Weapon Tactics, Hostile Vehicle Tactics.

Close Protection Operative Job Description

  • The job description for a protection operative will vary massively depending on the situation you will be working in.
  • For example, some individuals may require 24 hour protection meaning you will be working very long hours, including evenings and weekends at unsociable times. The venue may be indoors or out and include corporate events, conferences, political meetings or social settings.
  • The role will typically involve a lot of travel with stays away from home

Typically the job involves

  • Protecting principals- CPO’s must be ready to protect principals from any person or situation that may cause them harm e.g. close protection operatives
  • Principal under close guard
  • Terror attacks, opponents, or even over enthusiastic fans
  • Surveillance/Counter Surveillance- This is very important to ensure safety of the principal at any location and identify escape routes in case needed, counter surveillance can be often overlooked but can be the main defence against an attack, if you can spot and stop an attack during its planning phase there is considerably less chance of the principal facing life threatening danger
  • Background research- to identify any possible threats and help with preparation
  • Constant alertness- CPO’s need to identify threats and react quickly before they escalate
  • Escorting principals- where ever the principal is going you will be required to escort them to ensure safety at all times

Close protection Jobs

As previously mentioned the amount of close protection jobs is increasing all the time, due to us living in an unpredictable and often hostile world with increasing crime rates. As long as you have the specific qualifications and have passed the required close protection training you will have a better chance of gaining a successful career, although not guaranteed so you will need to sell yourself and gain interview skills to set yourself apart from the crowd and be a desirable employee, networking is an important element to working in the close protection industry, it is important to get to know people and have the potential to be recommended for jobs. Whether through a private company employing CPO’s on a job by job basis or an established security services company wanting to employ a full time team of operatives your chances of being employed are really good as long as you are willing to put in the hard work.

Security Industry Authority (SIA) Licence

Every country has different policies, procedures and legislation but to work in the private security sector in the UK operatives are required to be licensed by the SIA, it is the sole responsibility of the person looking to work in the industry to obtain the required licence. The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry; it is a criminal offence to undertake the licensable activities of a close protection operative without an SIA licence.

To obtain an SIA licence one must meet a certain criteria to determine whether they are fit for purpose, candidates will have to pass strict requirements and will be tested both mentally and physically.

The licencing is in place to ensure you are able to keep clients safe and react acceptably to situations meaning you won’t over react or be slow to react to an arising threat. Find out more about the SIA licensing criteria. The S.I.A license is highly regarded and sought after and GY6 also now offer local South-Africans the chance to gain their S.I.A licence through our Close Protection Level 3 training course hosted locally in South-Africa by TSU, The Edge Shooting Academy and GY6 Global.

Close Protection Operative Profile

  • To be successful as a CPO you will need to meet a certain criteria to ensure you are suitable for the role and will not put principals at unnecessary risk.
  • Apart from gaining the required licence and qualifications an idea CPO will have the following characteristics
  • Excellent fitness- There will be times when your fitness is pushed to the limits so you must be prepared Bodyguard Protecting principal
  • Keeping calm under pressure- Situations will arise that put you under great pressure, it is your job to stay calm and think clearly at all times
  • Excellent vision and hearing- It goes without saying that these are a massive advantage for spotting threats over long distances
  • Blending into a crowd- If the job requires, you may have to blend in to a crowd and not be noticed, this may be to stop civilians feeling uneasy that security personnel is needed in that situation
  • Standing out from a crowd- As the opposite of above some jobs will require you to stand out from a crowd and act as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of doing something stupid
  • Excellent team working skills- The higher the risk of a job the more important team work will be, you need to be able to collaborate with your team to ensure everything goes to plan
  • Great communication- As with above it is important to effectively communicate to your team and principal certain actions that will take place
  • Finding the right close protection training will help you to develop these core skills and set you on your path to a great career


  • Whether you have two months or two minutes preparation for a job make the most of your first opportunity as a close protection operative to begin the process of recognizing and reducing the risks involved with the operation you have been assigned to.
  • It is essential that a close protection operative does not become complacent or even lazy enough to start ignoring the value of preparation.

Be Flexible:

  • It is often said that “the best plan never survives the first contact with the enemy” and in many cases the customer will become the enemy for your plan.
  • It is essential that a close protection operative realizes that they are not always there to dictate every move a client makes.
  • You are there to facilitate your client’s movements and requirements by managing the risks and threats dynamically.

Switch on:

  • It is essential that a close protection operative remembers what they are there to do.