Unarmed Executive Protection Australia, Asia and Beyond

Unarmed vs Armed Bodyguards and Executive Protection Australia, Asia and Beyond – lets discuss.

The world we live in today is full of threats.

One out of every five women and one in thirteen men are victims of stalking.

Every year 12,000 to 15,000 people are held captive.

Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDP’s) and mentally unstable fans pose viable threats to celebrities and public officials.

While modern policing improves every day, there is still an average wait time of 5-15 minutes for help to arrive in emergency situations where each second counts. This wait time can be a lot longer in underdeveloped countries. Having personal protection means trained security professionals are present to immediately respond.

Providing security and protection for your management team can help mitigate this threat.

Here enters executive protection services (EP). Executive Protection Australia, Asia, and across the world is becoming more prevalent. The demand for professional Executive Protection services has increased exponentially the last few years across Australia and Asia as well as many other countries.

In some cases a protective team may include the use of armed personnel, however, this may not necessarily be the case to ensure effectiveness.

To be 100% clear before going any further, this is not an anti-gun article. Where the threat dictates and the option to engage or the offer of professional armed EP services is available, this should be the first avenue of enquiry. In fact, many security firms such as Panoptic Solutions are not able to provide armed EP within their own country due to firearm laws, may offer armed Executive Protection solutions via strategic partnerships or off duty law enforcement in countries which do allow legal access to firearms. In circumstances where armed EP is not an option due to certain countries firearm restrictions, there are unarmed EP services and options available. Professional unarmed Executive Protection Operatives (EPO’s) that utilise quality risk assessment and management techniques and methods are still an excellent solution to keep your staff safe.

Executive Protection Overview (very brief!)

Considerable training and education is spent in producing a professional Executive Protection Operative. One of the major differences between a security guard and an EPO is that EPOs approach threats proactively and use strategic planning and analysis to keep their clients safe. There is a lot of advanced work and preparation involved, as well as in-depth planning. Advanced preparation analyses all aspects of a journey, identifies any possible risks to manage/ mitigate, and implements procedures to address them.

Armed Executive Protection Australia , Asia and Beyond – Discussion points

Executive Protection Australia

Armed EP, while necessary in certain high-risk situations, and certain countries, is not necessarily always required, and is, in many places, impossible.

Almost all countries have laws against private individuals carrying weapons. For example, Australia, UK, China and Japan, have very restrictive laws against carrying a concealed weapon. Within Executive Protection Australia it is not currently legal to conduct armed CPP/EP. Current legislation Weapons Regulation 2016 (section 64) allows for the protection of assets and cash in transit (or at least the self defence of the security officer), however; does not allow for the protection of a principal. This is matter a which is continually addressed by professionals within the Australian security industry, but to date limited progress has been made to rectify it. Many states in the USA prohibit concealed weapons unless you are a former U.S. law enforcement agent, or you apply for a licence and complete regular refresher training. Further, each country has import, purchasing, and licencing restrictions.

Engaging armed security personnel may have the unwanted result of incurring individual or vicarious liability (and can you cause reputational problems depending on the circumstances.) Individuals and companies can be sued civilly, (either directly or vicariously) for any injuries or deaths resulting from hired armed services, depending again on what occurred and why. Different laws and regulations in different countries define justifiable shootings in self-defense in different ways. If called to testify in a court, one will need to provide evidence to support a claim that all appropriate and necessary steps were taken prior to resulting in deadly force. Understanding the rules of force and the legal obligations of each hired operative carrying a firearm is required.

There are of course those individuals and companies which operate within (or just outside of) the security sector who are either unprofessional, ill informed, ignorant or misunderstand their legal obligation when carrying a firearm. A recent example of this includes a former unlicensed Victorian security officer walking armed in public without reason or appropriate permits.  Certainly this is not to suggest that all companies who are able to offer armed Executive Protection operate this way, however, it places an obligation upon the client or VIP’s team to conduct the relevant due diligence prior to engaging these services. Within Executive Protection Australia and worldwide, professional companies attempt to provide transparancy around this so that clients can be confident of the service they receive.

There are additional considerations that add to the complexity when working with firearms. Obviously, initial firearms training must be conducted, licencing and registration must be current and ongoing training maintained. A general expectation from the client would be that realistic and relevant training be conducted, however; this may not always be the case with each and every EP/CPP service provider or company.

Access to some venues and buildings may pose problematic for armed EPO’s. Many countries including those throughout Southeast Asia prohibit firearms into venues such as airports, government offices and certain private buildings. Many of these locations use metal detectors. Although not impossible to gain access with the right planning and administration, the logistics involved in addressing these problems unnecessarily complicate a protective operation and it can create a vulnerability for the principal if access is denied and the armed agent/operative not permitted to accompany the VIP to certain locations.

Finding the right balance between armed and unarmed Executive Protection and Close Protection operations is crucial for professional teams. In countries which permit the carriage of firearms, some teams and security companies rely heavily on armed executive protection tactics even when outside of their usual area of operations.  This can prove dangerous for the Principal and other security team members, as a reliance on a system which is not available to them reduces the overall effectiveness of the team and indicates a lack of appropriate planning. A professional team will ensure there is a good balance within their training syllabus to meet this.

Unarmed Executive Protection Australia, Asia and Beyond: The flip side

In an interview with Mike Seeklander, James Hamilton (Vice President of Protection Strategies,  Gavin De Becker & Associates), talks about using your ‘brain’ as a weapon and not the firearm when referencing unarmed CPP and protection operations. Hamilton briefly talks about how there is a need to understand how to defend yourself and that of the principal in countries outside of the USA where armed CPP/EP is not always possible.

Competency with a firearm is important but Executive Protection is more than marksmanship, and this is a small element of what makes an EP Operative. Many EP specialists operate competently without firearms. These specialists perform the vital job functions of keeping their clients safe using innovative safety and security measures.

Executive Protection Australia and beyond encompass many elements which don’t necessarily require a weapon including:

1. Planning;
2. Advances including route selection, venue surveys and hospital assessments;
3. Driving; &
4. Pedestrian Drills.

Greater emphasis on pro-active protection of the principal in the planning and advance phase assists in mitigating the lack of a firearm. Unarmed Operatives can provide excellent protection through planning, local liaison, provision of logistics (i.e. appropriate vehicles), strong communication skills and competent drills including immediate actions and reactions to attack. All security professionals, armed and unarmed, have training in verbal de-escalation techniques and in some cases less-lethal weapon use, which may assist in providing an effective deterrent to any would be attacker.

The use of individual combatives is one technique to enhance an unarmed executive protection operative and team. Combative systems such as TTP, ISR Matrix, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other similar fighting systems are all examples of systems which EP operatives may choose to train in. Tactical Personal Protection (TTP) is a krav maga and kali-based self-defence system. TTP is a contemporary fighting system intended to help the average person respond to direct, dangerous threats and attacks.

The ISR matrix system, used by security professionals allows executive protection specialists to use force continuums and mission-specific operational modes to respond to threats effectively without weapons.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu cites statistics showing that 90% of all unarmed fights end up on the ground, an area which, as a martial art it specialises in. Although this statistic is disputed by some, it’s not an ideal situation at any stage ending up in a ground scuffle with an attacker. All Executive Protection Operatives would do well to know how to fight their way back to their feet.

An option for countries which don’t allow armed EP is the use of Kubotan. A Kubotan is a device typically made of hardened plastic or timber, usually no more than 14 cm in length and approximately 1 cm in diameter, which can be carried on a keychain. Training with the device is required, but it is a good option for those who wish to have an alternative to traditional unarmed combatives.

Wherever the risk dictates and the ability to operate with armed Executive Protection is available, this should always be considered in the first instance, however; where this option is not available it is comforting to know that there are professional Security & Risk Management Firms, such as Panoptic Solutions (contact here), which offer highly trained unarmed Executive Protection Australia services.  In many situations, they are just as effective as armed executive protection, particularly in areas that don’t allow these specialists to carry a firearm.  If they are well-trained, they are an excellent option for protection services.

Whether you need Executive Protection Australia, in Asia or further abroad or to discuss your security needs with one of our Executive Protection specialists call +61 1300 651 407 or click this LINK to fill out a contact form. One of our security agents specialising in Executive Protection Australia, Asia or beyond will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Indonesia Security – Business Travel Security and Safety

Indonesia Security and Safety: Ranked as the 4th most populous country in the world, with a population of over 265 million, Indonesia is famous as a holiday destination but is becoming an increasingly important destination for business travellers. The country is a big player in the mining and energy sectors but is also growing attention internationally for its diverse manufacturing and agricultural sectors and its status as a banking and finance hub.

As with many nations in Southeast Asia, it has a few characteristics that business travellers would be well advised to know before heading over there. Having had considerable experience in the country and now with a branch office in Jakarta, Panoptic Solutions Indonesia security consultants are very well familiar with teh country and its cultures.

Indonesia Security Considerations – The Risks

Indonesia hosts more than 10 million international visitors a year and most travellers manage to leave without incident so don’t let the summary of risks below put you off from travelling there. There may seem to be a lot of risks but if you are suitably prepared and take the right precautions your trip should be without incident also.

Having said that, when there is high risk, take heed of any travel warnings issued by your consulate or department of foreign affairs. These are not issued lightly and should be taken seriously.

Refer to our Business Travel Safety & Security Checklist at the bottom of this post for more generic tips on personal security while travelling.

Theft

With the exception of terrorism (see below) most crimes against tourists in Indonesia are crimes of opportunity. Criminals look for soft or easy targets, so if you’re alone or are intoxicated you increase your risk of being targeted.

Dodgy Drinks

Regrettably, one of the scams that happens from time to time in Indonesia is motivated by greed but can have fatal consequences. Some bars, in order to reduce costs, mix ethanol and/or methanol into alcoholic drinks to maintain the alcohol content but at a lower cost. Methanol in particular is poisonous and, in some cases, can lead to vision impairment and even death when ingested.

Key steps to take to avoid this are to:

1) Drink in reputable bars and hotels. If you don’t trust your own judgment on this, ask the concierge at your hotel or other business people you are interacting with for recommendations.

2) Only order drinks you are familiar with so you know what they ‘should’ taste like. If something tastes ‘off’ it quite possibly is so you are best to cease drinking (and pour the drink out so no-one else is harmed).

Terrorism Risk

Indonesia’s population is a predominantly Muslim (87%), most of them and law abiding but, unfortunately, it’s the extremist element of the Muslim population that has got the lion’s share of publicity in recent years. Many of these have travelled overseas where they have been radicalised and/or earned battle experience in the Middle East or The Philippines. They often return very committed to their cause and with the skills and resources to back it up. This element is what increases the Indonesia security risk rating with many analysts.

Many terrorist incidents in Indonesia pre-date the 911 attacks in New York in 2001, but it is mainly the attacks since that time that have brought focus on Indonesia as a terrorism hotspot. This commenced with the Bali bombings in 2002 and with occasional hotel and other bombings since then. Indonesia security forces and local authorities have responded well to these situations and counter-terrorism initiatives have since put them in a better position to prevent such events.

Indonesia security experts still warn travellers to be wary of their surrounds. There is still a higher risk for the business traveller than there might be in other Southeast Asian nations though so it’s best to take heed of any travel warnings issued by your local consulate. Indonesia security travel warnings will be outlined on most government travel advisories.

Natural Disasters

Sitting on a volcanic hotspot knowns as ‘the ring of fire’, Indonesia has a higher risk than most places of volcanic eruptions. Most volcanic eruptions are not life threatening as they usually come  with sufficient warning. They can wreak havoc on travel plans though so ensure you travel with plenty of extra medication in case you should find yourself stranded longer than you planned to be in the country.

Earthquakes, tsunamis and mudslides are also more frequent in Indonesia than most countries so take heed of warning systems, sirens and such like should they go off. Most coastal areas include signage showing which direction to go in the event of a tsunami warning so become familiar with these before you need them

Travelling Around

No matter how much experience you may have driving in developing nations, we recommend that visiting business travellers always engage a qualified security driver where possible. Avoid hiring or riding on a scooter at all costs. Though it may look like fun it’s a high risk activity that could have serious consequences if you are in an accident.

If a security driver isn’t an option, use a metered taxi rather than a ride share service. We’ve used and recommend Bluebird taxis over any of the others. If the driver doesn’t put the meter on at the beginning of the trip ask them to do so. If they refuse for whatever reason, agree a price for the trip up front rather than waiting until the end.

Being an archipelago nation, there’s also a good chance you may find yourself on a boat at some point. There are areas of Indonesia where piracy occurs, up through the Malacca Straits, for instance so if you’re cruising around, that’s something you need to be aware of.

Health Care

Don’t expect to find emergency health care of the same standard as you might find at home. There are few reputable hospitals but, in the event of an accident, you could find yourself at one that doesn’t deliver the care that you need. Where possible choose one of the private hospitals.

Siloam or International SOS hospitals are in many cities and the BIMC Hospital in Bali is well suited for travellers. Some of these also have their own ambulance services so where you have a choice, go with one of these.

Take a first aid kit with you when travelling to Indonesia (Listen to this episode of the Wheels Up podcast for details of what to include). Include an antiseptic spray in your kit as the tropical conditions can cause even the smallest of cuts to become badly infected.

Hepatitis A, B, and C are pretty prevalent throughout the region as are dengue fever and malaria so ensure you have have the correct vaccinations and anti-malaria medication before departing. See a doctor specialising in travel medicine as they will be up to speed on the latest shots required for the area. Don’t leave the vaccinations for the last minute as some take time for the benefits to kick in.

Jakarta and some other cities in Indonesia have very high air pollution levels so if you are asthmatic or have respiratory illnesses, ensure you travel with plenty of medication and use it as needed. Volcanic ash can also be a trigger for respiratory conditions so be on high alert when there is volcanic activity, even if it is some distance away.

Cultural Considerations

As a predominantly Muslim nation, Indonesian people are quite conservative. Even if you are a frequent traveller to Bali, don’t expect the same holiday atmosphere or dress code in other parts of the country. Women in particular are well advised to be modest with their clothing.

Haggling Etiquette

Haggling is part of the culture of most Southeast Asian nations and Indonesia is no exception. While a merchant will usually haggle quite happily, and even expects you to haggle, they do not appreciate it if you are haggling just for sport and have no intention of buying.

And even if you do engage in haggling, keep in mind that a dollar means much more to them and their families than it does to you.

Suit Scams

One scam that is prevalent, although not so much pertaining to Indonesia security threats (and many other Southeast Asian destinations) is where you order a tailored suit in a particular fabric but it is made and delivered using a lower quality cloth, or somehow the price has increased from when you first ordered it.

There is little actual harm as such but the simple rule here is to pay close attention to what you are ordering and agreeing to. You could go as far as taking a photo of the cloth offered when you order the suit and comparing it with what’s delivered.

Be Prepared

The advice above is suitable for most travellers but if your business is frequently sending staff to Indonesia, you’d be well advised to have a full risk assessment done for the areas your staff would be travelling to. This would include accommodation, travel and health care recommendations as well as any briefing material to help staff be prepared.

Panoptic Solutions has an office in Jakarta so we are well equipped to provide an assessment should you need one. If you want to know more about Indonesia security risk, contact us at 1300 651 407 or via email for more details.

Refer also to our Business Travel Safety & Security Checklist below by entering your details for more generic tips on personal security while travelling.

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