Executive Protection Detail – Skills, Prevention, Reaction

Recognising attacks before they occur or meeting them in their earliest steps constitutes an essential component of safeguarding high-net-worth families and individuals. Prevention rather than reaction is the optimal solution for an executive protection detail operating in either routine or dynamic and changing environments.  

This “pre-recognition” of an incident is sometimes known as a “combat indicator.” More commonly, specialists refer to it as “situational awareness.” Indicators can be as evident as verbal threats from a potential assailant or more challenging to spot to the untrained eye. That could mean an overdressed person on a hot summer’s day, or a car parked at an odd angle, or an out-of-place location.  

An executive protection detail well-versed in its trade is constantly observing for indicators and warning signs. To recognise an attack before, or just as it unfolds, is the difference between a delayed response and a proactive counteraction.  

But what is an executive protection detail? Broadly speaking, an EP detail is a team of security and risk mitigation specialists who aim to ensure the safety of individuals and groups, including:  

  • Executives and CEOs,  
  • Political figures,  
  • Professional athletes,  
  • Wealthy individuals,  
  • Dignitaries,  
  • Celebrities,  
  • Musicians and performers, and  
  • Very Important Persons (VIPs).  

Due to their elevated personal risk profile, these individuals, their families, and entourage require reliable protection to remain productive and at ease.  

For these reasons, an executive protection detail employs tactics and strategies to anticipate, plan, and prepare for any eventuality.  

Proactive Counteraction  

An attacker or intruder typically hopes to meet little to no resistance. Assuming to be the aggressor in the confrontation, the potential malefactor envisions catching the EP detail off guard.  

But since violent persons are dangerous by nature in any circumstance, early attack recognition can often be complex. That statement especially holds true if they are familiar with certain close protection and executive protection techniques.  

To deter or avoid an attack before it converts into physical aggression, first and foremost, the EP detail must recognise it. That is, as opposed to merely reacting to a fully-fledged assault. Vigilance and discipline by the EP team may be the first layer which any assailant observes and may decide to find a “softer target.” 

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The Principal’s Role  

In some cases, the intended target may experience a fight-or-flight response. That is a reaction of the sympathetic nervous system, whereby a large amount of adrenaline releases into the body. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of this response, particularly for those who have little training, is to freeze up.  

For that reason, a well-run and mentally aware executive protection detail should plan for this reaction. Clear and calm communications with the principal will assist in this instance. Planning and preparation are paramount for any executive protection team.  

For example, a straightforward yet valuable technique to consider in terms of proactive counteraction is pondering about “what-if” scenarios or “actions on.” Unfortunately, a failure to be ready for all possible events can, at worst, prove deadly.  

Apart from the role of the executive protection detail, the principal ― i.e., the person on the receiving end of protective services ― also has a part to play. Paying attention to that “gut feeling,” listening to their inner voices, feelings, and intuitions and conveying those to the security team is sometimes just as helpful as many other techniques.  

That said, a quality EP team will fall back on to their training rather than rely solely on the principal. They will also understand the significance of planning and training and the philosophy that “You don’t rise to the occasion. Rather, you simply fall back to your level of training.”  

How Local Support Tips the Scales  

Security experts argue that local knowledge and local support are invaluable in any operation. Therefore, managers and officers should always consider a few items when travelling to Australia or Asia from a different country or continent. Most notably:  

  • Difference in exchange rates, time zones, units of length or distance, and units of weight (such as miles, kilometres, kilograms, pounds),  
  • Vehicle selection for the Australian and Asian landscapes, possibly involving 4X4 vehicles,  
  • Local advances prior to the arrival of the foreign EP team to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the hotel staff, event staff, and logistics staff,  
  • Laws, customs, regulations, and firearm licensing.  

For instance, foreign EP agents do not have legal permission to work as security operatives or agents within an Australian-based close protection program 

Engaging a local licenced and reputable security company that specialises in executive protection and then providing oversight and management as an “adviser” is permitted without an Australian security licence.  

That may sound strange to some. But that is precisely the reason why having access to local knowledge and support could prove essential. Not the least because any local operation may fail if the suitable local operators are not contacted on time.  

Proper Size of an Executive Protection Detail  

A question that security companies get asked frequently is this: How many members does my protection team need? Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward.  

In fact, an executive protection detail can be as small as one person. However, it may include many more individuals. Depending on the assignment, an EP detail could consist of:  

  • Paramedics and medics,  
  • Security driver,  
  • Escort team,  
  • Advance Team/Party,  
  • Personal protection officers (PPOs) and other roles.  

Suppose a security assignment solely involves travelling from point A to point B. In that case, pending the risk profile and a threat assessment, perhaps hiring ten protection officers would be excessive.  

Additionally, they may have trouble blending in with their environment. And this technique constitutes one of the most desirable qualities of an EP detail. In contrast, a complex security assignment with multiple venues and meetings may require a larger team with several skills.  

There are times where, in order to complete a mission, protective agents/operatives must blend in, become part of the crowd and remain inconspicuous. This way, they can spot gestures that could reveal the early stages of an attack.  

Still, there is one more type of blending in that many principals favour. It entails a near-invisible posture in the presence of the client and their surroundings. They need to dress and behave in line with the current environment or assignment. All this implies quick adaptation to dynamic situations.  

Note: Boutique security companies need to be flexible to travel the globe. Those intending to partner up with Asia-based or Australian security companies typically ask for EP details sensitive to diverse environments. That entails security specialists who can swiftly shift from addressing high-profile CEOs in the board room to talking with their kids. The language and tone must suit the environment.  

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Acting on Threat Assessments  

The most solid level of protection means offering appropriate security and being as non-intrusive as possible toward the everyday lifestyle of the principal, their family, and entourage. The key to achieving this goal is conducting threat assessments, the main elements of which include:  

  • Identifying a potential perpetrator,  
  • Assessing the risks of violence that the perpetrator presently poses, and  
  • Managing the subject and risks that they present to the target.  

As security author Peter Consterdine infers in his book, The Modern Bodyguard, “Once prepared, the assessment is not concluded or static. Rather, it forms the basis of a dynamic, ever-changing assessment as more current information comes to light. A threat assessment can be as broad-based as simply the political stability or otherwise of a whole country. Or conversely, it can be as narrow as the threat posed to a client by simply one person.”  

In fact, the principal can be at risk from various individuals and entities. Moreover, some of the following motivations may be driving their actions:  

  • Financial gain,  
  • Political and religious beliefs,  
  • Personal vendetta,  
  • Competitional, and  
  • Motives of mentally disturbed individuals and those with a sense of grievance.  

A threat assessment helps an EP detail establish the facts, motivations, and situations pertaining to the safety of their principal.  

In Conclusion  

This article explored avenues of prevention and reaction in the everyday work of an executive protection detail. As a result, we have established that preventive measures coupled with determination can increase the principal’s level of safety and security.  

Practical points to explore in day-to-day operations include:  

  • Pondering what-if scenarios and planning “actions on,”  
  • Considering the right size of the EP detail,  
  • Practising de-escalation,  
  • Estimating and rehearsing for the use of violent force when necessary, and  
  • Preparing a threat assessment.  

In the 21st century, media are jam-packed with reports of violent acts against high-level individuals in all industries and countries. Yet, many of them seem to be unaware of the looming threat and impact of crime, terrorism, and other types of dangers. This article assists in outlining and clarifying how EP details perform their daily duties. But also what it means to be under their protection.  

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations to enhance productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched executive protection services.  

Key Features of Remote Medical Services in Australia

Everyone wants to feel safe. It doesn’t matter if they attend an off-the-beaten-track sporting event or are stationed at a remote work site for extended periods. Whatever the environment, the safety and medical needs of citizens need to be met. Consequently, reliable access to remote medical services in Australia is all too important, even lifesaving at times.  

Consider ultra-high-net-worth families travelling on an outback safari in the middle of Australia. By doing so, they inadvertently limit their possibilities for emergency medical care. In other words, they increase the chances of either a mild or severe medical incident or an accident turning into a tragedy.  

With no hospitals or healthcare institutions nearby, one of the only ways to ensure their well-being is through onsite remote paramedics or expeditionary doctors on hand.  

In short, a remote medical service encompasses:  

  • Delivering healthcare services to individuals in distant areas,  
  • Monitoring the patient’s condition,  
  • Providing emergency medical care and primary healthcare, and  
  • Performing preventive and control check-ups.  

Every year, some 20,000 Australians suffer a cardiac arrest outside a hospital. According to estimates, a mere 10% of people actually survive cardiac arrest with no hospital in sight. That is just one consideration that is taken into account when preparing remote medical plans for clients travelling to or within remote locations of Australia.  

Take, for instance, a high-net-worth family cruising through the Whitsundays or other remote islands of North Queensland or an executive group conducting a tour in Australia’s outback. In all these cases, immediate medical support can help mitigate the risk of injury and illness. 

Reliable Help: Remote Medical Services in Australia  

Ideally, residents engaged in remote area-based activities should be able to confidently and conveniently access healthcare services 

Irrespective of their social-economic status, all residents and visitors to Australia can place themselves at risk if travelling to or attending events in remote areas.  

In addition, sporting contests such as motocross or environmental challenges like iron man or enduro style events typically occur in secluded locations. For this reason, doctors and paramedics need to be stationed onsite to be of assistance.  

Quick fact: The principal role of a paramedic is to provide pre-hospital emergency care and stabilise patients with life-threatening conditions.  

Further to this, extended scope and critical care paramedics are able to treat low to high acuity cases, which is a value add to any expedition or remote event. This ensures that simple primary health care matters can be attended to early, before they potentially become emergent or critical.  

For those visiting remote locations and unable to travel with a paramedic or doctor, we recommend that they carry medical stores and equipment with them. The items should be task-specific and may include:  

  • Automated External Defibrillators (AED),  
  • Basic airway devices (paramedics and doctors would carry Advanced Airway Devices),  
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) and primary healthcare medications under prescription (paramedics and doctors would carry emergency care drugs),  
  • Trauma packs and emergency stores,  
  • Splints, bandages, and a host of other means.  

For people in distant areas, timely access to remote medical services in Australia is of the utmost importance.  

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Accessing Health and Support Services in Far-Off Areas  

The general public and experts believe mining sites are notoriously dangerous, and Australia is home to over 350 operating mines. Among the latest workplace accidents is when machinery crushed a 43-year-old from Adelaide’s south. Although other workers called emergency services, the man died at the scene.  

One among many, this incident proves that both established and soon-to-be-built mining sites need to ensure the safety of their staff. One of the most efficient ways to do that is hiring mine site paramedics, either short-term or permanently.  

Providers of remote medical assistance ― in Australia and abroad ― typically cover a particular set of services. For instance, these may include:  

  • Medical supplies,  
  • Emergency medical care,  
  • Primary healthcare, and more.  

Most importantly, since it is a large country, any company offering remote medical services in Australia needs to possess the ability to consult with additional health professionals, including:  

  • Doctors,  
  • Clinics and  
  • Hospitals.  

Paramedics must be well-versed in the latest training and clinical practices to be of genuine service ― including preparedness to travel alongside help-seeking individuals or reach them onsite in distant locations.  

Most high-net-worth families and individuals require short-term to long-term medical support, while this type of assistance also extends to their entourage or employees.  

Note: In the age of COVID-19, UHNW and HNW families and individuals necessitate a higher degree of health-related safety. This includes compiling COVID action plans and dealing with day-to-day safety measures, like disinfection and sanitisation, mask-wearing, and similar actions of visitors and support staff.  

Quick Case Study on Remote Help  

Highly trained medical professionals typically oversee all types of events: from adventure activities to music festivals. As a result of adequate and detailed planning, the likelihood of an injury ― or other emergency during an action-packed event or at a remote location ― decreases. This is where remote medical services in Australia prove tremendously helpful.  

There are many intricacies involved with safe event management that must be adhered to so everyone feels protected. First, appropriate and immediate medical care needs to be on hand if an incident were to happen.  

For example, during remote events, medics will stabilise any patient by initiating the first stages of treatment. The next step is to enact an evacuation plan, including road, fixed-wing or rotary-wing transport.  

One such event, the annual Frontline Safari motorcycle riding event, involves off-road motorcycle riders completing a double-crossing of the Simpson Desert over five days to raise much-needed funds for veteran charity Soldier On. Over its course, riders challenge themselves having to cross part of the world’s largest dune desert.  

In this instance, there is an emphasis on preventative health care: safety, hydration and ample rest. However, the extreme nature of the event necessitated registered and experienced paramedics on hand to ensure the safety and health of all riders and support staff. For example, during a recent incident where a support staff member experienced chest pain, event paramedics treated them appropriately. 

In addition to carrying appropriate medical stores and equipment, access to communication devices constitutes a significant benefit in these circumstances. Briefly, such devices include:  

  • Mobile/cellular phones,  
  • Satellite phones,  
  • InReach mini satellite devices,  
  • Emergency devices for SOS locating.  

Further, equipping riders with access to First Aid Kits is imperative. This ensures they are able to provide immediate first aid and care prior to the event paramedics arrival.  

The Takeaway  

There are many benefits to living, working, or spending time in rural and remote parts of Australia. However, the reality of frequenting or even rarely visiting the country’s distant places implies limited access to immediate healthcare.  

To counter that, paramedics travelling with their UHNW or HNW clients is one of the best ways to ensure their health care needs are met. Thus, an onsite paramedic far surpasses the best doctor in the world who is far away.  

Simply put, remote medical services in Australia, such as remote paramedics or expeditionary doctors, bridge the gap between people in hard-to-reach areas and their access to medical services.  

Companies like Panoptic Solutions help individuals and teams do their best work and enjoy relaxation time without worrying about far-off and unavailable medical support.  

Explained: Corporate Security and Risk Management

In today’s information-packed and vulnerability-prone world, there is no shortage of risks that threaten companies. Corporate security and risk management relates to strategies utilised by security professionals in order to avoid situations that pose threats by identifying, assessing, and controlling them. Therefore, for any company to function properly, corporate security and risk management must be at the forefront of its operations. 

We can also refer to these types of strategies as intelligent handling of uncertainties. Worryingly, most companies are experiencing an escalation of physical and cyber threats. One study shows that physical security concerns are prompting 40% of organisations to adjust their security strategies.  

According to the Bureau of Statistics, Australians saw a 23% decrease in unlawful entry with intent or other theft. This could sound reassuring to corporate Australia ― until we notice that the decline in illegal activity coincides with COVID-19 lockdowns. In fact, crime is not decreasing in scale lastingly but only due to sudden events such as the ongoing public health crisis. 

The current pandemic has considerably impacted how we view corporate security and risk management. For one, some organisations now spend more on physical security as it relates to personal health. These expenditures include gloves, sanitisers, masks, and testing, to mention a few. 

Furthermore, other companies had to reduce their physical security headcount as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact. Due to this problematic fact, the Ontic Center for Protective Intelligence states that as many as 32% of organisations worry about threats to the physical security of their company leaderships and C-suite members. 

As a matter of fact, the Ontic Center’s survey found that many fear physical security breaches hindering business continuity. And we agree that no organisation should understate the importance of proper corporate security and risk management services. 

Which Firms Need Corporate Security? 

If a company possesses property, assets, and employees, then it requires corporate security services. Fending off criminal acts against any of the three is essential when considering business prosperity. Besides physically protecting the CEO and managers, corporate security also deals with protecting technologies and customer data from fraudsters. 

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every company, some similarities could lead us to specific answers.  

The year 2020 and the years preceding it presented multiple trends that complicated the competitive landscape, including: 

  • Increased focus on responsible and sustainable business, 
  • Heightened geopolitical tension, 
  • Faster technological change, and 
  • Radical shifts in consumer buying expectations and behaviour. 

COVID-19 proved to be an accelerant of those developments. Expectedly, this distress pertains to corporate security and risk management. In other words, now it is as unclear as ever who is transmitting the virus and whether individuals pose threats to CEOs and managers at corporate-level meetings. Thus, assessing the risks has become extremely difficult, and corporate-style events are suffering the consequences. 

On a different note, organisations worldwide lose approximately 5% of annual revenues to fraud. Unsurprisingly, most of it traces back to a lack of corporate security and risk management. 

Therefore, the short yet practical answer to the question of whether companies of all sizes need corporate security is this: Yes, and it’s overdue! 

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The Essential Quality of Risk Management 

Risk management has gained plenty of traction in the past two decades, not the least because of accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Since the event, experts have used this incident to accentuate how risk management can go wrong and fast. 

Closer to home, the Esso Longford gas explosion killed two workers and injured eight. The event devastated Victoria, causing a halt to primary gas supply chains, with around AUD 1,3 billion lost in the process. In the aftermath, a Royal Commission blamed the accident on Esso Longford, the company in charge.  

As many experts believe, all this could have been prevented if risks were managed better. 

Despite all of the money and rhetoric around risk management, executives and managers often treat it as a compliance issue. They claim that creating a multitude of rules and having employees follow them will inevitably increase productivity and safety. Truth be told, some risk requires alternative approaches, not a rules-based model. 

Types of Risk 

Generally, three types of risk generate the most significant problems in corporate Australia ― and really anywhere else in the world. 

Preventable risks are those that a company can either control, eliminate or avoid. These include risks from unauthorised, unethical, illegal, inappropriate or incorrect actions by managers or employees. Companies can counter this type of risk by guiding people’s behaviours and decisions toward desired norms and monitoring operational processes. 

External risks are those found outside the organisation and are beyond its control or influence. These risks include political and natural disasters, as well as major macroeconomic shifts. In this case, managing risk efforts should focus on identifying and mitigating their impact rather than trying to prevent it. 

Strategy risks are those that a company voluntarily accepts to generate extensive returns from its strategy. For most companies, this means taking on risks through research and development activities. Unlike preventable risks, strategy risks aren’t inherently undesirable. For example, to capture the potential gains, the oil and gas company BP accepted the high risks of drilling below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. 

For strategy risks, the traditional rules-based control model is ineffective. Events such as this necessitate a system to reduce the probability of risks materialising and enhance the company’s ability to contain or manage the risk events. 

In Conclusion 

People in all positions of power tend to overestimate their ability to influence events that are profoundly determined by chance. Similarly, no matter their rank, everybody feels confident about the accuracy of their risk assessment and forecasts. 

Interestingly, organisational biases also hinder our ability to discuss failure and risk. In fact, the biggest problems arise when teams engage in groupthink. As soon as a course of action gathers support within a group, those not yet in agreement with the majority tend to fall in line. This proves to have crippling effects on any company. 

For these and many other reasons, corporate security and risk management services must not be observed as a compliance function but a real-world human-centric issue. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions help organisations enhance productivity by offering unmatched corporate security and risk management services.