How to Protect Executives and Board Members Against Hostile Shareholders and Protesters

Google “shareholder meeting attack” and you’ll be amazed at the number of stories that come up. Most of them are about non-violent attacks – protest groups, people launching hostile bids, or shareholders complaining about executive salaries or positions. But, violent or not, looking at the Google results (and reading this blog post or listening to this podcast episode) you’ll soon see why it’s imperative to protect executives and board members against hostile shareholders and protesters. It serves to have executive protection and risk mitigation strategies in place.

Hostile Shareholders and Protesters Attacking Executives

Can executives and board members really be attacked during meetings by hostile shareholders and protesters?

Unfortunately, there are all too many examples of assailants managing to attack executives at board meetings or events. In recent times, here in Australia, Qantas Airlines CEO Alan Joyce was set upon by a pie-wielding protester. A man managed to walk in, uninvited, to a business breakfast at which Joyce was speaking. He strolled through the hotel, into the meeting room, and made it all the way up to the stage without being stopped by anyone, let alone security, carrying a lemon pie.

Imagine what would have happened if that was a knife, or a glass of acid, which isn’t uncommon in places like the UK? The consequences could have been devastating.

Looking at Alan Joyce’s profile, a security professional would have seen there was a high chance of attack considering his previous financial controversies and social commentary. Disgruntled shareholders in financial difficulty might have sought what they perceived as ‘justice’ over the affair.

As it happens the assailant, Tony Overheu, was protesting about Joyce’s views on gay marriage which was the topic of a recent public vote here in Australia. But again, a security professional would have known that Joyce’s views on gay marriage could have upset the right-wing. It’s a textbook example of why executive protection should be in place for a high-level CEO.

In another recent and related incident, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was head-butted by a left-wing individual who reported being upset about Tony’s negative stance on gay marriage. And while Tony Abbott, a former amateur boxer, could have no doubt taken care of himself, imagine how things would have gone down if Tony had let loose on a member of the public? It already made front-page news!

This attack prompted people to ask whether Australia should consider a protection detail on our former Prime Ministers – there are many nations that do. Though the debate got mixed responses, the truth is that any high-profile individual would be wise to consider executive protection.

We don’t want to see politicians, CEOs or executives embarrassed, assaulted, or injured. Security should be seen as an investment in productivity and reputation as well as safety.

Violent Behaviour Against Executives?

What kind of businesses have a higher risk of hostile shareholders and protestors exhibiting violent behaviour against executives?

There’s always the potential for protesters, issue-motivated groups, or politically motivated groups to disrupt operations, whether that be through attack or causing embarrassment. For example, many people remember the 2010 Nestle shareholder meeting in Switzerland, where a man concealed himself in the rafters, and abseiled down with a banner protesting Nestle’s use of palm oil harming orangutans.

Even though no one was hurt, and the intention was ‘good’, it highlighted how someone committed to a cause could go to great lengths and be undetected. It also reminds us that executives and board members need protection not just against physical threats, but the threat of embarrassment and damaged reputation too. That meeting will only ever be remembered for the negative publicity it generated and the ‘scandal’ that Nestle had to manage as a result.

We’ve worked across multiple sectors, financial, mining and construction industries for example, which are generally targeted by left-wing and conservation protestors. CEOs in big business and Fortune 500 companies are targets for everything from physical attacks to embarrassment.

Some of the larger construction company executives have a significant risk profile and can be held to ransom by militant unions whose lines of ‘acceptable’ industrial action are somewhat blurred. Such instances include CEOs being targeted physically, by embarrassing them on camera, or by impeding their movements on a site, in their workplace, or to and from their workplace.

In another rather extreme example, Freddy Heineken was kidnapped in 1983, proving that even beer moguls are at risk. So it’s pretty broad.

Executive Protection at Meetings and Other Situations

Do these executives need protection just at meetings, or are there other situations where they might be at risk?

It’s not just at shareholder meetings that executives are open to attack. If the company is in the red, or not doing well, there are likely to be disgruntled shareholders. But even at board meetings, it’s a wise move to have trained static executive protection security checking off IDs as people come and go. They can make sure the room has the right people in it and the uninvited aren’t getting in, organising secure transfers and transportation to and from the actual location.

Many board members who fly in and out of Australia to conduct meetings tend to do other activities outside of work, like going to sporting events. We’ve provided executive protection, secure transfers, and transport for those events, which might include going to the event space prior to them getting there and doing a full advance.

If executives are travelling for business (and we discussed this in episodes two and three of the Wheels Up podcast), it’s always a good idea to either consult with a risk management firm or have someone locally provide them with security and safety support.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation

At what point should a board or an executive team bring in a professional to help or at least have their risk assessed?

We suggest the sooner you can start planning and risk assessing the better. Obviously, there are specifics that will take a while to lock down and sometimes this can’t be done until the eleventh hour, but the bulk of the planning should be done well in advance.

Security Screening to Protect Executives – A Step Too Far?

Should people attending shareholder meetings or business breakfasts or similar go through a security screening, or is that taking things too far?

Security should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It doesn’t need to be overly intrusive – a security guy with a wand – but security should always be paramount. It’s not just the CEO at risk, it’s anyone involved in the meeting. And don’t forget, there’s a duty of care to everyone present to ensure they’re in a safe environment.

It’s the job of a security team or an executive protection operative to weigh up the risk of their high-profile person and make a decision whether they need to step in and intercept a potential threat or not.

So, whether that be a pie in the face, a knife, acid, or just someone who wants to abseil a building and disrupt a meeting, an executive protection operative will identify that and make the right risk assessment. Without that operative there, you’re leaving yourself open.

For more information about how and when to hire an executive protection agent, readers/listeners are invited to sign up below to download our free book – How to Hire an Executive Protection Agent – Who Needs A Bodyguard And How Do You Hire One? – or to contact us directly.

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Gold Coast Security Firm search for Aussie in Malaysia

Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions on International Search Case

Private security team members from Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions are helping in the hunt for a missing Aussie in Malaysia who says she hasn’t touched her bank accounts.

Panoptic Solutions operations manager Ben Hosking, coordinating the search plan from the Gold Coast Security Firm, whilst his colleague Troy Claydon is on the ground in Malaysia, said all scenarios for her disappearance remained on the table.

Annapuranee Jenkins, 65, has not been seen since she got out of an Uber after leaving a dental appointment in Penang, Malaysia on December 13.

Mr. Hosking said she didn’t have her passport or phone with her but was believed to have a bank card or card and her accounts had not been touched.

“She had her bank cards but hasn’t accessed them. That is why you could suspect foul play may have occurred because she hasn’t touched any of those accounts,” he said yesterday.

Mr. Claydon was helping her son in Penang widen the search area yesterday and applying for approval required locally to parade a mannequin dressed as Mrs. Jenkins in hope of sparking memories of anyone who might have seen her.

Mr. Hosking said they were treating the operation as a missing person inquiry given the length of time since she was last seen.

EARLIER: A CRACK squad of ex-military and police from Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions are leading an international hunt for an Australian woman who mysteriously “vanished” holidaying in Malaysia.

The desperate Brisbane-based son of missing South Australian Annapuranee “Anna” Jenkins has hired private high-end Gold Coast Security firm Panoptic Solutions in a bid to track her down.

Mrs. Jenkins, aged in her mid-60s, was on holiday with her Vietnam veteran husband Frank Jenkins, 70, in Penang, Malaysia, when she disappeared on December 13.

Aussie in Malaysia

Annapuranee Jenkins, an Australian Citizen who is missing in Malaysia since December 13.

She had gone alone to a dental appointment before catching an Uber — seemingly en route to visit her mother in a Penang rest home. But a local police chief has told local media her driver dropped her 4km from the intended destination at her request.

She has not been seen since local media have reported.

Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions founder Troy Claydon has been in Penang for a week, leading the family’s private search and told the Gold Coast Bulletin by all accounts she was of completely sound mind.

Mr. Claydon said there was no known rift in the family. “It’s an odd case.”

The circumstances of her last known movements were “unusual”, Mr. Claydon said, adding she didn’t have her passport or bank cards and where she allegedly asked to be dropped off as an “odd location”.

Panoptic Solutions founder Troy Claydon

Troy Claydon who founded Australian and Gold Coast Security Firm, Panoptic Solutions to provide high-end private security is on the hunt for a missing Australian citizen in Malaysia. Photo: Regi Varghese

“There is CCTV footage of the driver departing without her but no other footage.

“There are CCTV cameras along the main road but the local police didn’t check them in time and they have now been wiped over.”

Panoptic operations manager Ben Hosking, a former search and rescue assistant co-ordinator for the Northern Territory police, is helping coordinate the hunt in Penang from the Gold Coast.

Panoptic Solutions founder Troy Claydon

Panoptic Solutions founder Troy Claydon posts up ‘missing person’ posters around Penang, Malaysia, where Annapuranee Jenkins vanished on Dec. 13, 2017. Mr. Claydon is heading up the family’s hunt to try and find her.

A photo supplied by Panoptic Solutions from CCTV shows her leaving the Jen Hotel where she and Frank were staying on the day of her disappearance, while he looks on in the background.

Local media reported she asked her Uber driver to drop her at Jalan Scotland instead of her actual destination, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home in Batu Lanchang.

The place she was last seen when dropped off on Scotland Rd is a busy intersection but it is unclear why she asked to be let out where she did.

Aussie in Malaysia

A view of George Town in the city of Penang, Malaysia, where Australian citizen Annapuranee Jenkins went missing on Dec. 13, 2017, and hasn’t been seen since. She was there on holiday with her husband and to visit her mother who lives there.

Mr. Claydon said the dentist and Uber driver had both been spoken to and their stories appeared to “check out”.

The driver had taken them on the route where he drove her and was “distraught” about the disappearance.

Mr. Claydon said they remained open to all scenarios — including her having had some sort of medical episode through to being the victim of foul play or an abduction.

“There is potential she has got into another vehicle, whether forcibly or voluntarily.

“We know she doesn’t have her passport, doesn’t have a mobile phone, doesn’t seem to have any cards. It’s obviously quite concerning.

Aussie in Malaysia

One of the flyers being posted up around Penang, Malaysia for missing Australian citizen Annapuranee Jenkins, who goes by Anna or Ranee. she has been missing since Dec. 13, 2017, after exiting an Uber on 68 Jalan Scotland, Penang following a dental appointment.

“It is frustrating for everyone and you have to feel for the family.”

The son of a missing Aussie in Malaysia said he knew Panoptic team members via a mutual military connection, said he hired them in the hope of a breakthrough.

“We were struggling to get any more information from authorities or anyone over here so it’s a bit of a desperate plea,” the son said.

“But we are still fairly positive, we’re operating on the basis no news is good news.”

In their bid to trace where she might have ended up, Mr. Claydon said they had walked the route from where she was dropped to the rest home. Today, they went back and were catching buses departing from the area to track those routes.

Panoptic Solutions operations manager Ben Hosking

Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions operations manager Ben Hosking compiles search maps from the Gold Coast to help his fellow Panoptic colleague who is in Penang Malaysia, leading the search for missing Australian citizen Annapuranee Jenkins.

They have had a mannequin with them dressed in similar clothes to what she was wearing, hoping it might jog the memory of anyone who might have seen her.

Mrs. Jenkins was the primary caregiver for her husband Frank, who suffers from dementia and has since returned to Australia.

The couple, who have been married for 40 years, arrived in Penang on December 5 to visit Mrs. Jenkin’s 101-year-old mother, who was sick.

Mr. Jenkins said his wife had never gone missing before but in the past 12 months had displayed signs of mental health issues.

He said Mrs. Jenkins began believing that people were following her and were out to get her and the family believed she may have gone into hiding.

“We think she might be paranoid about someone tailing her in a car or walking,” he said.

“She’s very religious and she stops out the front of people’s houses and says prayers and some people don’t like that, naturally.

“She thought that everyone was against her.”

Aussie in Malaysia

Last known area where Australian citizen Annapuranee Jenkins was seen in Penang, Malaysia.

The holidaying woman in her mid-60s from South Australia had been to a dental appointment and was in an Uber when she apparently asked to get out — and was dropped here, near the Driveway of Ramakrishna Ashrama Penang.

Mr. Jenkins said the family was extremely worried about Mrs. Jenkins and were taking it in turns to travel to Penang to continue to look for her.

“We looked around the churches and hospitals and so forth,” he said.

“And then when I went back (to Australia) my son went over and he stayed there for a week and he went everywhere and dropped flyers and then he came back and then my daughter Jen did the same thing and dropped the signs everywhere and then … (my son) went over again.”

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade statement said it was providing consular assistance in accordance with the Consular Services Charter to “the family of an Australian woman reported missing in Malaysia”.

“Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment.”


Members of private security firm Panoptic Solutions tend not to want to see their name up in lights.

The Gold Coast Security Firm of former military and police veterans offers a normally discreet personal protection service to international A-listers and high net worth individuals both here in Australia and internationally throughout Asia.

Past clients include boxing legend Manny Pacquiao — Panoptic operatives shadowed him 24-hours a day during his Brisbane visit last year to fight Jeff Horn. Their client rosters have also seen them look after fortune 500 executives, television personalities, and Department of Defence staff.

Troy Claydon of Panoptic Solutions

Troy Claydon of Gold Coast Security Firm, Panoptic Solutions, which provides Health, Safety, and Security Services during a photoshoot at Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast. Photo: Regi Varghese

You won’t be ready about that anywhere.

But as Panoptic Solutions operations manager Ben Hosking told the Gold Coast Bulletin today it was taking the unusual step of highlighting its latest case — hunting for the mysterious disappearance of Australian woman Annapuranee Jenkins — because they needed all the exposure they could get.

“With backgrounds in specialist law enforcement and Australian Defence Force personnel our policy is to maintain discreet service provision.

“However, this situation carries enough gravity and we feel that it could be the right thing to do in this instance and break our silence.”

Troy Claydon and team member of Panoptic Solutions

Troy Claydon and team member of Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions, Health, Safety, and Security Services at Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast. Photo: Regi Varghese

It was started in 2011 by former Australian Defence Force member Troy Claydon. He had 14 years of military experience plus five years in war-torn Iraq as a private security contractor. He returned to the Gold Coast in 2009 and signed up for the Queensland Ambulance Service to train as a paramedic.

He started Gold Coast Security Firm Panoptic Solutions with the aim of offering a bodyguard service to people with high-level paramedic skills.

“If something goes wrong, whether you’re injured or whatever, the first person people look to are the bodyguards,” he told the Bulletin in 2016.

“My plan was always to try and put those two services together — the medical and the security. They go so well together.”


ANNAPURANEE Jenkins, who goes by Anna or Ranee, was born in Malaysia but immigrated to Australia after marrying Frank Jenkins decades ago.

Mr. Jenkins, a veteran of the Vietnam War, is an ex-Australian Defence Force member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). They met in the 1970s while he was stationed at Penang’s RAAF Butterworth.

Mrs. Jenkins, in her mid-60s, still travels to Penang four to five times a year to visit her

101-year-old mum who lives there. She has a Brisbane-based son and daughter in South Australia, and two grandsons aged five and 11.

She is the primary caregiver for Frank who has been suffering from dementia.

Her son described her as a compassionate mother and wife who helped the homeless and refugees in South Australia, whom she regularly cooked for.

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Annapuranee Jenkins should contact any of the following:

Penang RMP on whats app or phone +60 19 411 7572

Jenkins Family on whats app or mobile +61 400 381 593

Panoptic Solutions +61 1300 651 407 or

Jakarta Bombings ABC Radio Interview

At approximately 1030 hrs, local time, on 14 January 2016, what is believed to be a cell of five terrorists launched an attack on Jalan Thamrin in Central Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The Jakarta bombings centred on the Sarinah shopping mall and office tower. The attack commenced with an assault on a police post outside the building and moved to the car park in the vicinity of a ‘Starbucks’ on the ground floor of Sarinah.

Reports are conflicting, however, the best estimate is six explosions were heard during the attack along with a sustained period of small arms fire during the assault that lasted a little over three hours before police gave the ‘all clear’ and declared the emergency over.

During the course of the attack, the police post was destroyed and all five attackers were killed along with two civilians, including one westerner. Again, at the time of writing, the nationality of the deceased westerner is unclear however the most reliable reports state the nationality to be Canadian (with a Dutch citizen seriously wounded). Reports of police casualties appear incorrect.

ISIS has since claimed responsibility for the attack and warned of more acts of terrorism are to come.

Click this link to listen to Panoptic Solutions discuss the recent Jakarta bombings with ABC radio.

The Psychology of Risk — An Interview with Dr Gavriel Schneider

We take a deep dive into the psychology of risk and the influence it has on our planning and response mechanisms. In this post (and this podcast episode) we interview Dr Gavriel Schneider, an expert on integrated risk management and safety and security.

How do high levels of comfort and safety affect our attitude toward risk and how does this impact our level of preparedness and ability to respond to risky situations?

Dr Schneider has more than 21 years of experience operating and teaching within the security sector and was the first recipient of a Doctor of Criminology Degree with a specialisation in security management. He also has a Master of Technology Degree in Security Risk Management.

He’s currently the CEO of Risk2Solution, a group of companies providing services in the risk management space, and the author of two books, Can I See Your Hands – A Guide To Situational Awareness, Personal Risk Management, Resilience and Security and Beyond the Bodyguard: Proven Tactics and Dynamic Strategies for Protective Practices Success.

The Psychology of Risk Explained

In Dr Schneider’s words,

“The psychology of risk looks at the way we make decisions in our own minds, how we make decisions around others, and then how decisions are made at a group level.”

He explains that one of the biggest problems risk management professionals find is that clients or prospective clients tend to assess risk based on their own history or their perception of a situation. This in turn gives them a distorted view of reality.

Most of these people have either: a) had little exposure to real risk and thus don’t have the skills required to be attuned to risk or to manage it, or b) they have had exposure to risk but have not had any specific problems so assume that the risk is actually low. The opposite is actually the case as the more exposure they have to risk, the higher the likelihood is that something might go wrong. He sums up this position by saying,

“People confuse luck with risk management and there’s a very different perspective from a business traveller who might arrive at an airport, go to a hotel, go to an office, repeat that cycle for two days and then go back to the airport to somebody who’s actually going to be out and about with no support behind them.”

He gives the example of a business executive who had travelled to Nigeria four or five times without incident. When a project came up that required a larger delegation to travel there, most of whom had never been to the country, he was advised to invest in some security. His response was, “No, I’ve been there five times and nothing’s ever gone wrong and you guys are just being paranoid.

He even cites examples of clients who try to lose their protection team just to prove that they can. At the other end of the spectrum, Schneider finds clients who do have a reasonable perception of their risk, but then change that perception once they realise how much it will cost to manage it.

“The conversation might start with ‘Money’s no object, I just need to be protected.’ When you tell them what it will actually cost all of a sudden they try to bargain you down and go, ‘Can I get away with one or two guys instead of the four guys you want to send?’”

It Starts With The Individual

Schneider says that corporate travel and security policies are only as effective as the people responsible for complying with them.

If you can’t even look at how you make decisions yourself, then it doesn’t really matter how effective your corporate policies are or how effective response services are. It does start with the individual.”

He refers to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a five-step model where the first two layers are concerned with basic issues of security and safety and the remaining levels relate to psychological and self-actualisation issues.

“One of the problems we’ve got when we take first-world travellers is that many of them have grown up in a world where they’ve never had to worry about safety and security. They’ve always been safe, they’ve always had food to eat, they’ve never had anything go wrong. All they’ve been worried about is, “Do I have a great job?” “Have I found love?” “Does my life have meaning?”

The problem is, if people have never thought about safety and security, and they expect to be able to manage or deal with a situation that they’re not equipped to, it comes down to luck. And the luck then comes back to an instinctive response, where they might freeze, they might panic, they might fight, they might flight and there’s no ability to control which option they take if something went wrong, which is really risky when you start looking at it.”

Dr Schneider says we need to learn how to make decisions both from a strategic angle and also from a tactical angle. This also includes the occasional need for an instinctive decision to be made and this is where typical first-world travellers are lacking in skill.

A well-trained security detail will however have these skills well developed. Even where it’s not practical for a security detail to travel with you, travellers can reduce their risk dramatically by getting a pre-deployment brief or pre-deployment training from a suitably qualified provider.

Silo Busters

Meanwhile, at the group decision-making level, Dr Schneider says half the battle is often in getting different departments in an organisation to coordinate with each other.

“We’ll use the term silo busters. Within organisations, there’s often a safety department, a security department if they’re lucky, there’s a risk department sitting somewhere, there’s a governance and a corporate oversight structure very often. In other organisations, they’ve even got travel departments. None of these people talk to each other. For us, the real risks actually sit in the gaps between those silos.”

The risks he refers to are individuals who often end up making a choice based on the wrong criteria or their own personal experience which doesn’t reflect the reality of a situation.

“If you think of the way your own headworks, we compartmentalise things so that it’s easier for us to make decisions. Most decisions are made on cognitive biases or heuristics, and they’re not actually made on facts.

We tend to relate to what we know instead of trying to figure out new stuff and interpret it. As a result, you get somebody who goes, ‘I went to Bali and nothing happened to me, therefore If I go to [insert name of country] I will be fine.’

Or, ‘Everybody says South Africa was so dangerous. When I went there, nothing happened to me so therefore everywhere else in the world is probably safe.’”

He goes on to say that this attitude is reflected in the corporate environment with a sense of apathy where the psychology of risk isn’t taken as seriously as it should be.

“One of the challenges I think we’ve seen is that activities like risk management for organisations have become tick the box, as opposed to really adding value.”

The Changing Context of Threat

Dr Schneider points out that most people tune out of the changing reality of the threat, seeing it as something that happens to someone else. Despite several horrific events causing loss of life and 15 ‘near miss’ terrorist incidents in Australia between 2014 and 2016, most Australians still distance themselves from risk.

“The threat context, in general, has changed for the average citizen in Australia, yet most of them haven’t realised this. ‘If I haven’t seen this before, I don’t believe it’ll happen to me.’

Even if you have seen it, if you look at what happened in Melbourne [pedestrians being run down] or you look at what happened in the Lindt Café, or you look at the terrorist incidents that are happening pretty regularly now, the average citizen turns around and is still in a state of denial.”

Situational Awareness and the Psychology of Risk

At the other extreme, he cites examples of those who are so regularly exposed to the risk that they let their guard down to the extent that it puts them at even higher risk. They lose what industry insiders call ‘situational awareness’ which Schneider describes as “being aware of the right things”.

He recalls an incident where he picked up an ex-military friend at an airport in South Africa and briefed him about keeping the car windows up and doors locked to reduce the risk of robbery.

“As we were driving out of the airport he was looking around and everyone else in at least 50% of the other vehicles had their windows open and people on cell phones or distracted. He said, ‘You know you’ve just given me the briefing. Why are these people behaving in a way that’s contrary to the threats you’ve identified?’

This comes back to that level of denial and apathy. The biggest challenge we’ve got is being situationally aware takes work and it takes effort.”

Dr Schneider knows the real dangers only too well. He received a phone call one night in South African telling him that his mother and stepfather had been in an attempted robbery and his stepfather had been shot in the head. He said this moment was pivotal in his decision to write his second book, Can I See Your Hands – A Guide To Situational Awareness, Personal Risk Management, Resilience, and Security.

“For me, it was one of those moments in my life where I thought, ‘It actually doesn’t matter how good people like us [security experts] get because we’re not here when our loved ones need us.’

It’s been a little bit of a lifelong pursuit for me to try and translate the knowledge that security professionals have to a format the everyday person would read it, so the book is aimed at the everyday person.

This is knowledge every person should have. This should be taught in school. Everybody should have these fundamental skills. The fact that we don’t is a testament to the level of denial we live in.”

He stresses the importance of not overdoing our level of preparedness and points out that simply being more prepared than most is often enough to keep you out of trouble.

“Being paranoid is worse than not being vigilant at all because you work through that limited amount of awareness but you chew through it really quickly. One of the biggest benefits we’ve got is, I don’t have to be the most aware, I don’t have to be the most prepared, I’ve just got to be that little bit more aware and a little bit more prepared than everyone else.

We know from studies in criminology that most criminals select targets based on the likelihood of success vs. return and why would I rob you, assault you, attack you, rape you, kidnap you, you name it if it looks like you’ll see me coming but the guy behind me won’t?”



Can I See Your Hands – A Guide To Situational Awareness, Personal Risk Management, Resilience and Security
Beyond the Bodyguard: Proven Tactics and Dynamic Strategies for Protective Practices Success

Contact Info for Dr Gavriel Schneider

Website –
LinkedIn Profile
Email –
Phone (from Australia) – 1300459970

Gold Coast Security Companies — 8 Tips to Hire Quality

With so many Gold Coast security companies, one can find it a challenging task to identify the one which provides a professional service. If events and organisations such as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games & Olympic Committee have questions from the public surrounding the quality of security providers (Skene, 2017), how does the layperson or even a business identify a professional security company on the Gold Coast to engage?

Gold Coast Security Companies Tips to Identifying the Right One for You:

1. Queensland Security Firm Licence

This may sound simple, yet there have been in the past security companies in Queensland as well as Gold Coast Security Companies operating without the correct licencing provided by the Department of Fair Trading.

2. Professional Membership

Is the Gold Coast Security Company a member of a professional body such as the Security Providers Association of Australia (SPAAL), Australian Security Industry (ASIAL) or National Security Association of Australia (NSAA)? All Queensland security companies are required to be a member of a professional body to remain compliant. Membership is the QLD Governments way of maintaining integrity, accountability, professionalism, and good conduct within the industry. Ensure that the security company you look to engage has a membership.

3. Adverse Media Reports

Conducting a basic web search will provide you with the results of any adverse reports on Gold Coast security companies. Companies that are not appropriately registered or are those which have previous, or are in the middle of legal proceedings will be listed. These are companies that should be avoided. The web search may not be able to advise which is the best security company on the Gold Coast to engage, but it will provide you with an indication of which to avoid.

4. Security Companies Scope of Services

Ensure the security company you are engaging with provides the type of services you are looking for. For example, engaging a Gold Coast security company that specialises in mobile patrols won’t be the type of security company you will want to provide executive protection or bodyguard services. Furthermore, they may not be the type of company you need will provide corporate security for events or workplaces. Always ask about the services they provide and do your research on what they specialise in.

5. Website

Does the security company you are looking to use have a website? If so, what information is on it? Is it clear and succinct? Where is the office located? Does it include an office on the Gold Coast? What type of services does it outline on the site? Is the information laid out in an organized and easy to read way? Is there information about the company and its personnel? If not, why not? A reputable Gold Coast security company will have a quality website that represents its professionalism.

6. Staff/Personnel

A professional Gold Coast security company will provide access to expert security consultants and operatives with backgrounds ranging from Law Enforcement, Military, Emergency Services, and Corporate Security.

7. Services That Complement Security

No, we’re not talking about carpet cleaning… A professional security company will have other services within its scope which complement security. For example, Panoptic Solutions provides security medics which embed into security teams to ensure that an immediate medical response is available to clients at the exact time they need it. Whether this is within an Executive Protection detail or embedded into a team providing security at a Gold Coast function, you will be able to access immediate pre-hospital emergency medical professionals.

8. Local Knowledge

If you’re engaging Gold Coast Security Companies, it makes sense that the security company has knowledge of the local area. From Beenleigh to Coolangatta, a local Gold Coast Company will be able to support the population with all their security and needs. If you are engaging a security company to provide secure transportation for clients, you want to ensure they know the area and can transport clients from point A to B, not just safely, but confident that they will make the correct location.

For more information on how a Gold Coast Security Company can assist you, contact the team at Panoptic Solutions by emailing us at, calling +61 1300 651 407 or submitting an enquiry here.

Want to keep up to date on travel health, safety and security? Why not subscribe to the Wheels Up Podcast where we discuss all matters of safety and security. Click the PODCAST LINK and then subscribe.

Article Citations:

Works Cited for

Skene, K. (2017, September 13). Retrieved from Gold Coast Bulletin:

Safety and Security for Journalists and Media

When most people think of executive protection or bodyguards in general, they tend to think of VIPs, celebrities, and high net worth individuals (HNWI). Though they may not always travel to hazardous locations, their risk is enhanced by the virtue of their position or status. For them, travelling to hazardous locations is often part of the job, thus, provisions need to be made with regards to safety and security for journalists and media crew.

Occasionally, the risk is very high. Anyone who has seen the movie, Whisky Tango Foxtrot or read the book The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker, will have a sense of how high that risk might be. Even allowing for the artistic license that Hollywood inevitably takes, there is no doubt that journalists and media crews find themselves in risky situations. In this post and this podcast episode, we take a look at some of those risks and how they can be mitigated.

What’s the Difference Between Executive Protection for VIPs and Safety and Security for Journalists and Media Crews?

I’ve been saying for some time that security is really just a bi-product of the service that we provide and that service is essentially moving people from point A to point B. Security for journalists and media projects still requires us to transport and protect so, in essence, the primary goals are the same but the planning and execution will vary considerably.

The risk profile of a journalist and their crew in a war zone or meeting with criminal figures is clearly different from the risk profile of a pop star visiting a shopping mall. And the resources will vary considerably also.

At the VIP and executive end, comfort and style will play a larger role, with 5-star hotels and stretch limos being part of the execution. With news and media projects though, budget accommodation and vehicles that blend in might be more appropriate and affordable.

In essence, journalists are all about getting into the action, whereas VIPs and high net worth individuals are all about avoiding it.

The planning for a media project will be determined by whether the location(s) to be visited might be considered hostile, which covers countries with active war zones, Syria and Afghanistan for example, or volatile, which includes countries that have an inherent safety risk, such as parts of Africa, Latin America, Papua New Guinea, and so on. The war zones have risks such as roadside bombs or IEDs (improvised explosive devices) while the latter carries risks of kidnapping, armed assault, and the like.

Some projects, however, are in locations that are neither hostile nor volatile and can be considered benign to a degree. We’ve provided security for journalists and supported television crews in Hawaii, Australia, Singapore, and other ‘soft spots’ where there just happened to be an element of risk that warranted a protective presence. As is usual practice, we team up with local providers to make sure the job gets done effectively.

Boots on the Ground

A typical example of a project in a volatile zone would be one where we supported freelance journalists covering stories in Basra during the Iraq war. He outlined the goals of his trip and the locations he was hoping to visit and we provided a risk brief on those locations. The risk brief outlines the conditions he was exposing himself to. We then also provided a full orders brief, which essentially covers what to do when in the area, such as honouring the local customs, etc.

His budget stretched to an armed multi-national team, including local personnel, so we were able to provide a high level of support and threat analysis as the project unfolded.

A key part of this project, and any project, in fact, is that we developed a high degree of trust with the journalist right from the start. In any situation, it’s important for the client to understand that if the protection team says it’s time to move out, then it really is time to move out. Without trust, that message just won’t get through.

An additional benefit of this trust is that it allows the journalist and their crew to focus on their work knowing that their backs are covered.

Meanwhile, an example of a project in a volatile zone was when we travelled with a journalist and production team to remote parts of Indonesia to gather material for a story exposing a slavery ring. A sophisticated criminal element was luring fishermen from other parts of Asia with the promise of high wages then enslaving them by holding their passports and preventing their return home.

This project required considerable planning and, because we had to keep a low profile and be reasonably mobile, we had to travel with a small security team. Working with trusted locals, or ‘fixers’ we embedded with the production crew and had to fit in with what they wanted and what they needed and, at the same time, provide them with the right advice.

For us, it was about getting the production team as close to the story as possible but, at the same time, attempting to mitigate the risk. It even included managing to get one of them onboard one of the fishing boats without being detected, and then get them off again safely. It was a challenging but rewarding project.

Importantly, in both of these cases, the journalists got what they needed and without coming to harm. Had they not had an expert risk management team with them, it’s doubtful they would have got their story without meeting some sort of misfortune along the way.

Part of the Adventure

A key part of any risk management project is to remember that it’s not our role to set the agenda. Journalists, usually have a pretty adventurous spirit and take more risks than most people. Rather than trying to eliminate the risks, we see our role as helping them to manage the risks. Safety and security for journalists are about working with them and providing expert advice.

As much as possible, we try to think of ourselves as being part of their crew, rather than being a separate crew that has a different set of goals. It’s their show, their gig, and our job is to support them in it. We are there to manage expectations rather than to spoil the show so to speak.

As often as not, this means coming up with alternative approaches to a task rather simply saying, ‘No, it can’t be done.’ On the rare occasion that we do say it can’t be done, it will be with very good reason and only after all other options have been explored.

Travelling Solo

With the advent of mobile phones and camcorders, it’s often the case that a journalist will travel without a production crew. This shouldn’t be used as an excuse to avoid risk management or bypass a security presence when it might still be in their best interests to do so. Just because you’re travelling solo doesn’t mean that safety and security for journalists or media go out the window.

A single journalist recording their own video and/or audio and covering their own logistics is already doing the jobs of multiple people. To add risk management on top of that means something often has to compromise. Usually, that will be the risk side of things as it’s not a core skill of the journalist.

Where possible it makes sense to travel with a security presence. Rather than slowing you down, they will actually help get the job done quicker and probably to a higher standard.

Where that’s not possible, consideration should at least be given to having a risk assessment and briefing conducted prior to departure. Even logistics such as hiring a vehicle can be fraught with risk as you can often end up with an unkempt vehicle running on bald tyres. A risk management team can help source vehicles, and local drivers if necessary, that are safer and more suitable for the job. If nothing else, a local driver can help the journalist blend in and make their presence less obvious

Travelling Incognito

As a rule, journalists want to stand out in the media, but a key part of security for journalists is to keep a low profile out in the field. We often recommend travelling incognito to support this. We suggest using an assumed name and company when booking accommodation or meeting drivers so as to not draw attention.

This may not be possible when covering official functions or events and sometimes the equipment being used is a giveaway but, wherever possible a minimal footprint is preferable.

This is especially true in countries that have tight censorship laws or where there might be political unrest.


Kidnappings have happened before to journalists and will certainly happen again and someone who prepares for it is obviously going to be in a better position than someone who doesn’t.

We actually run a ‘Surviving Captivity’ program, primarily designed to highlight what you will experience after being captured and what you can do to minimise the chances of being kidnapped. It’s also an education session on what goes on behind the scenes of a typical kidnap situation.

While it’s not practical to deliver the full content of the program here, there are some fundamental actions and principles to keep in mind if you’re ever in a kidnap situation.

  • Leave breadcrumbs before the fact. Keep family members, your workplace, and your embassy appraised of your movements so that in the event that you go missing, they at least have an idea of where to start looking for you.

  • Take a deep breath. Expect that you’ll be going through an emotional roller coaster that covers fear, dread, anger, confusion, and helplessness. Knowing that those emotions are coming will help you respond to them rather than react to them when they arrive.

  • Kidnappings are usually ‘business transactions’. Except in rare occasions where the captors are looking to make a political or ideological statement, expect in most cases that they are looking to make an exchange of some sort. Know that it’s likely that these negotiations are going on in the background and a good deal of resources are probably being assembled to support your release.

  • Expect to be uncomfortable. No explanation is necessary.

  • Be as aware as possible of your surroundings. How many people appear to be on-site? Which way does the sun seem to travel through the day? What sort of vehicles is being used? Can you hear trains, boats, or planes nearby? You may not have access to all your senses and will likely lose track of time but gather whatever clues you can as they might be useful either for your own rescue or to support someone else going through the same thing later on.

Nothing is a substitute for proper training for this situation though so reach out to us if you want more information about the Surviving Captivity training. Though it’s not as intense as a military version of the program, it is run by former special forces and intelligence operatives so cover the subject in considerable detail.

3 Quick Tips to Wrap Up

1 – Even if you aren’t entering a hostile or volatile environment, any travelling journalist or production crew would be well advised to review our travel tips in episodes two and three of the Wheels Up Podcast.

You can also download our Business Travel Safety and Security Check List by entering your details below prior to travel.

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2 – Before heading off, reach out to reputable security and risk-management company. Find out if they provide hostile environment awareness training, (or HEAT training). That’s something that we also do here at Panoptic Solutions but there are various other companies out there that offer that as well. Make sure that the course covers a medical aspect within it as well because medical risk increases exponentially in some of the volatile areas you may go to and a few precautions can make all the difference.

3 – Talk to a risk-management provider about a ‘fixer’ or a trusted source in-country. Obviously, the gold standard would be to have a security consultant travel with you or meet you in location but if you don’t have the means, then discuss what options you’ve got within your budget. It may just be about arranging a trusted driver or secure transportation in the locations you are going to.

Seek Help, Even if You Think You Can’t Afford It

Even if it’s not an option to have a security team travel with you, establishing a relationship with a risk management or executive protection company in advance could give you an opportunity for some ‘long-distance advice’ if needed. Security for journalists and media teams can include sound advice.

We did some prep work with a media crew heading to South America not long ago and they were going to some rather volatile regions and associating with some rather unpredictable characters. They chose not to utilise our services in the end but we continued to provide them with advice while they were in transit as we were rather concerned and worried about their safety.

Journalism is hard enough as it is but if a compromise on safety is necessary, it shouldn’t be an all or nothing deal. It costs nothing to make an enquiry and it could save a whole lot of heartache to do so.

Contact Panoptic Solutions to discuss safety and security for journalists or your media team. Our expert security consultants have years of experience working with media. Call +61 1300 651 407 or email us

“I’m Just a Driver” – So What’s the Difference?

The question is, when does a “driver” go from being a “just a driver” to being a “security driver” and what should the expectations be of them if they then represent themselves as one?

Panoptic Solutions was previously involved with a task where the client utilised driving services from two separate security providers. Although not ideal, it is sometimes unavoidable due to commercial reasons. The client’s intent can still be met with some flexibility and professionalism by both entities.

Panoptic Solutions provided the advance and EP agents, while the second company was contracted to provide security drivers. Due to limited advance time, we requested the drivers to provide the route recons/plans, allowing our team to conduct the site/venue recons and liaison. This request was met with the comment “We are just providing drivers and we only have to drive, we are not here to do advances”.

If indeed the company was providing driving services I may have understood their reluctance to be a team player on this, however, the company was another security provider and specifically stated they were contracting out “security drivers”.

Expectations for Security Drivers

Inclusive of SOP’s which our security drivers are required to abide by, we also expect them to:

  • Know what a route reconnaissance is and how to conduct one unsupervised,
  • Understand how to draft a route recon report;
  • Know how to compile a stick/route map;
  • Understand the capabilities of the vehicle which they are driving;
  • Maintain the cleanliness of the vehicle;
  • Ensure the vehicle is mechanically sound;
  • Conduct vehicle sweeps (external & internal) prior to and on completion of the task,
  • Understand and have practised counter surveillance drills.

Security drivers are an integral part of any EP team and should have a thorough understanding of how they fit into the team. This is even more important when conducting intercompany operations supporting a client. It may be two companies, but it’s always one team. Food for thought….