What Is an Advance in Close Protection Operations?

Arguably one of the most valuable methods, an advance in close protection operations serves to anticipate, plan, and prepare for contingencies. Through various action items, it readies the principal and close protection team for unpredictable scenarios. 

Those who have been part of the security industry for a long time are glaringly aware that some high-net-worth individuals and business executives do not take physical safety seriously. In fact, some will travel the city, country, or world without spending too much time considering the increased chance of victimisation while travelling alone. 

Understandably, the high-level individual will concern themselves with business, the occasional vacation, or quality family time. Yet, they rarely engage a proficient security team to: 

  • Handle logistics and travel arrangements, 
  • Implement extra precautions, and 
  • Advance the location, as it is often said in the close protection industry. 

Most importantly, a skilled protective team will assist the VIP in maintaining their schedule. They do so by conducting an advance in close protection operations that averts embarrassment, accidental injury, harassment, or planned assault. 

The practitioners providing CP services and those on the receiving end must be cognizant of the following.  

First, the attackers are likely well-prepared, with a plan in place. Secondly, they have an unfair advantage. This means that they get to select the place, time, and method of the attack. Therefore, implementing an advance in close protection operations helps restrict and deter almost all — except the most determined attackers. 

According to security expert Dale L. June, “In over 90 percent of cases in which an attack has resulted in death of the protectee, the security personnel have also been killed!” 

How to Conduct an Advance in Close Protection Operations

Apart from their personal assistants, the protective agent is the principal’s second most important professional confidant. By this, we mean that the security team must have access to plenty of vital information about the protectee.  

For this reason, the CPOs ought to collaborate closely with the principal’s personal assistant, other essential company staff, and family members. The end goal of this should be to help inform the CP team about the principal’s movement and travel habits. 

For example, when the CEO or their associates schedule meetings, the security team should receive the information as soon as possible. Preferably, they need to know about this well in advance. The reason is that the protective agents may want to travel ahead of the business executive and take care of hotel reservations and similar items. 

Note: Conducting a quality advance in close protection operations entails not hindering the day-to-day workload or personal obligations of the principal, their entourage, or family. It means creating an enabling environment where the high-net-worth individuals and the people they work and live with can proceed with their ordinary business uninterrupted. 

advance in close protection operations

Understanding an Advance

Most security teams have trouble explaining to the HNWI or CEO all the details that encompass an advance in close protection operations. As a result, some executives may feel that their freedom of movement has been restricted. Others may conclude that a simple trip to the countryside private residence does not necessitate severe pre-planning. 

Whatever the objection, it fails to consider the essential aspect of having a protective team onsite. And that is the security and safety of the protectees and their immediate environment. It is the job of the close protection operatives to ensure everything runs smoothly with the least possible amount of uncertainty. This includes corporate meetings, flights, leisure activities, and other items. 

By implementing an advance, the security team organises enjoyable trips unobstructed by hecklers or crowds. In fact, a properly executed advance can minimise or entirely prevent most emergencies.  

Succinctly, the central aspects of this method of safeguarding the business executive entail: 

  • Obtaining the HNWI’s itinerary — with information on places, dates, and times of travel, arrival and departure, means of transportation, addresses and phone numbers, and all other relevant information, 
  • Arranging ground transportation and baggage pickup, 
  • Handling lodging considerations, including checking in the HNWI before arrival, 
  • Conversing with hotel staff to establish escape routes, locations of fire extinguishers, and parking considerations, as well as liaising with housekeeping to determine when they can enter to clean the suite, etc., 
  • Establishing ingress and egress points, whether staying in a private residence or a hotel, and 
  • Selecting the most direct and safest routes to travel back and forth. 

Although this is not a complete list, it covers vital aspects of an advance in close protection operations. 

Complex and Simple Advances

According to one recent study conducted with security, legal, and compliance executives, “91% of respondents agree that physical security needs a technology-driven industry standard for actively identifying, investigating, assessing, monitoring and managing physical security threats.” 

Any experienced advance professional will know how to take advantage of technology. By doing so, they increase the likelihood of a smooth CP operation. For instance, using gear and technology may comprise: 

  • Managing a security operations centre,  
  • Mounting CCTV cameras,  
  • Installing tracking devices, or  
  • Gathering protective intelligence. 

That is why we recommend hiring a proficient advance team comprised of two or more individuals. That way, they can cover more ground faster and reduce the potential for attacks or assaults. 

In addition, it may be important to note that not all advances require strenuous planning. In this sense, we can divide advances into simple and complex ones. 

A complex advance entails multiple protectees, several venues, many transportation elements and occurs during three or more days. Usually, a complex advance in close protection operations is necessary for participation at the Olympics, G20, Grand Prix, and other high-level events. 

Conversely, a simple advance can be implemented for less risky trips. For instance, let us consider a journey to a far-off place in the countryside or a private residence with no one in sight for miles. Then, it may be unnecessary to conduct a complex advance. Actually, in this case, it is usually recommended to apply a simple advance. This action entails a few phone calls and liaising with the destination team.  

Nevertheless, whatever the method’s scope, we recommend: 

  • Finding out as much information as possible, 
  • Practising extra precaution, and 
  • Handling logistics and travel arrangements to the letter. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched close protection services.  

Appropriate Dressing in Close Protection 

Many in and outside the security industry continue to maintain erroneous beliefs about how protective agents should dress. Usually, they make assumptions about dark business suits, white shirts, and conservative ties. This outfit may be acceptable and relevant in some instances. However, appropriate dressing in close protection is a substantially more complex topic than mere apparel. 

First and foremost, foul or inappropriate language and abusive slogans are unsuitable for all occasions. In fact, we are familiar with a case of a protective agent showing up for work in a T-shirt showcasing indecent vocabulary. Suffice to say that the principal was not happy about it. 

Yes, it is certainly worth considering the attire for the sake of the principal and their entourage. But in addition, appropriate dressing in close protection should also focus on the sensitivity of the general public. In this regard, many people identify strictly black suits with funerals or nightclub security. That is why the security team ought to be cognizant of all possible aspects affecting environmental perception. 

Secondly, it must be understood that some outfits are simply inadequate and unsupportive in specific settings. For instance, corporate and field assignments carry with them particular attires. Thus, dressing to the environment comes to the fore in this regard, and here are a few examples: 

  • Corporate environment: we recommend RM Williams, Aquila, or similar shoes. 
  • Field assignments: we suggest comfortable wear such as Scarpas, Merrels, or similar hiking shoes. 

If the protective agents dress incompatibly with their surroundings, they could adversely affect the principal’s safety. Furthermore, if the principal requires them to change costumes for different functions, they should consider it. The reason is that the principal may be better informed of what “proper attire” entails at high-level events, especially if particular dress requirements are necessary. 

Blending Into the Environment

Interestingly, it is possible to overdress or excel in dressing, thereby drawing attention away from the principal. For example, some protectees may wear AUD200 ties, AUD700 shirts, and four times more expensive suits. Outdressing the principal is never a good idea as it will draw undue attention from both the principal and those around them.  

Hence, we recommend picking ties, footwear, and suits just a bit below the quality and style of the principal’s apparel. The same applies to casual dressing, when it may be necessary to wear jeans and T-shirts. For instance, during an NGO visit to a distant village, it is helpful to dress for the occasion and the environment and not prepare as if securing a corporate event in downtown Brisbane or Jakarta. 

But what happens if it is necessary to carry a firearm during an assignment? There are many quality covert conceal holsters on the market which should be trailed on the range in similar attire as one would wear on a security detail to ensure that it meets the standard required for protection.  

When dressing to the environment, consider the following items of clothing: 

  • Sunglasses with polarised lenses and a UV rating of 300 or greater from functional fashion brands like Porsche Design, EyeDope, Banana Republic, or lower profile lenses from Oakley or Ray-Ban. 
  • Shirts should be 100% cotton, as they hold their shape and breathe better. 
  • Suit fabrics sometimes fall into categories of Super 100s, 140s, and so on. The higher the number, the lighter and more refined the cloth, including a higher price tag. This is especially important for warmer months due to its lightweightness. In addition, when trying on a suit in the store, the protective agents should make sure to look for a good fit in their “natural stance.” 

dressing in close protection

Briefcases and Dressing in Close Protection

Different security specialists will have to execute various tasks, hence the diverse outfits. For instance, a protective surveillance professional needs to engage in static and mobile activities in order to obtain information. For this purpose, they would immediately stand out if wearing a 511 tactical tuxedo. Yet, dressing in shoes, slacks, and a button-down shirt would make all the difference and assist in blending into the environment. Appearances matter! 

Similarly, briefcases are part of appropriate dressing in close protection. In fact, some protective agents carry a bag with support equipment, including AED, medical, spare ammunition (where appropriate), batteries, and others. In this case, we advise using a briefcase or backpack that does not appear covert or tactical. It may be appropriate, instead, to buy an ordinary leather briefcase and modify its inside to meet the protective staff’s requirements. 

The critical part to remember here is to keep the outside appearance of the bag intact and only transform the compartments inside. 

In addition, female executive protection agents are perceived as more natural when carrying bags, which the security team should use to its advantage. 

Note: A rule of thumb is to never stand out from the baseline, as that will make the security team be identified as just that – the security team. In some instances, it may prove beneficial for some protective agents to be conspicuous as visual deterrents and others to remain covert. Such events include music concerts and other live events featuring crowds. 

Final Thoughts

Casualness draws little interest. If the security staff cruises with the principal in a brand new, luxury-type SUV, they are more likely to bring attention to themselves. The same applies to appropriate dressing in close protection.  

For instance, suppose the protector assumes a casual posture in terms of clothing and an outward attitude toward the principal. In that case, they may appear to be their close friend, business associate, or companion. Such perception helps, as it raises no particular alarm in the general population, which could well happen if the on-duty security professional were perceived as such. 

In sum, here are the main takeaways from this article: 

  • Upholding the dress code for high-level events and checking for protocol items related to dressing well in advance, 
  • Considering sporting, informal activities, or beach functions as events for casual dressing, 
  • Do not overdress or out-dress the principal,  
  • Do not draw attention from the principal. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched close protection services.  

Dangers of Social Media in Close Protection Operations 

They allow us to communicate with each other instantaneously, share content, and expand the circle of associates, connoisseurs and friends. However, using social media in close protection and utilising it for private purposes are in stark opposition. Or is that really the case? 

What people outside of the executive protection industry post daily may be of no particular interest to anyone. However, what EPAs post on their company and personal pages makes all the difference, especially when clients are involved. 

Many security firms use social media solely to market their business. Others obsess over taking photos with their clients to showcase that they are in high demand. Thirdly, some take precautions in managing their online presence, paying attention to their clients’ security needs and concerns. 

Self-promotion is evident even in the EP industry. We can all recall the times when a photo opportunity for the security professional jeopardised the safety of protectees. 

According to one study, social media users post more than 3.2 billion images and 720,000 hours of video content every day. Moreover, these numbers will only grow in the coming years.  

With such a high quantity of information flow, how can CPOs manage their online presence in the 2020s? This article explains why monitoring the principal’s social media feed can help protective agents take pre-emptive measures and more. 

Protecting the Principal From Themselves

When executives and HNW families make travel arrangements, they sometimes share the locations with their massive online following. However, this approach is wrong, as it could inform bad actors about the routes and routines they might take.  

There is an ongoing debate in the CP industry regarding the use of social media by principals and security specialists. How should they intelligently and carefully approach it? 

One school of thought posits that the CPOs and EPAs should have a say about what and when the protectees post online. The second school of thought asserts that protective agents should create a threat and risk assessment so exhaustive that they can predict every possible contingency— thereby allowing the principal and their entourage to post as often as they like on any conceivable topic. 

Still, it is inadvisable to do the latter and expect to evade harm. Therefore, we recommend limiting the room for potential emergencies by restricting the outpouring of information. Or at least refraining from doing so until it is safe to assume that the principal is no longer vulnerable. Either by posting well after the fact or when the principal is in an alternative location. 

Real-Life Situation

Suppose the EP team travels to an off-road event in a remote area in Australia or Indonesia. Making this information freely available could be interpreted by bad actors as an invitation to surveil an enterprise leader taking part in the activity, which increases the likelihood of an impending attack. 

That is why the security staff should warn the principal, their family, and business associates about not posting any information that could reveal one of several things: 

  • Locations 
  • Routines 
  • Plans and schedules 
  • Routes 
  • Sensitive information 

In fact, every principal wants their security staff to be their “keeper of secrets” to some degree. Thus, protectors should be the corrective factor in this regard, not the ones causing disruption. 

social media in close protection

Introducing Policies for Social Media in Close Protection

Many security companies do not have appropriate social media policies in place. This can be harmful in the event of crisis situations, especially when they go viral — as they often do. 

But what do social media policies include? Generally speaking, this type of document covers the following aspects: 

  • Guidelines for employees who post both as a private person and as the company’s representative, 
  • Recommendations for workers to not intentionally or inadvertently harm someone’s reputation or contribute to a hostile work environment in any shape or form. 

As a matter of fact, the protective agent’s social feed must not contain any offensive content. This includes any discriminatory wording or false information based on sex, race, disability, religion or other status protected by company policy or the law.  

But there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all policy for social media in close protection. Instead, every security company should develop its own. At the same time, they must be aware that — without one — they are increasing the chance of poor employee behaviour on the internet. 

Nevertheless, that is not to say that all security professionals are unaware of their responsibility while posting online. In fact, most will likely resist sharing even the most exciting sights and avoid giving in to the most promising photo opportunity. 

Regulation in Action

At any rate, introducing policies for social media in close protection is the best course of action when it comes to regulating what goes and does not go online.  

In addition, a proper document of this kind should entail procedures for 

  • Addressing complaints, 
  • Writing and approving educational posts, videos, and information, 
  • Responding in conflict situations online,  
  • Outlining the basic steps for protecting the reputation of the security company, the principal, and accompanying individuals, 
  • Selecting employees in charge of managing social media accounts, 
  • Enforcing consequences, etc. 

The benefits of good social media policies always pay off in the long run, even though advantages may seem ephemeral at first. 

In Conclusion

The modern threat landscape is constantly evolving. In fact, bad actors have access to the same resources as close protection officers. And social media is one of many. But, it is a less known fact that those wishing to harm the CEO or HNW family will often employ cyberattacks targeting their social media profiles. 

In any case, oversharing and untimely sharing of content can lead to elevated risk levels for the principal and the security staff. It may seem benign, but the dangers of social media in close protection operations are many and various. 

For instance, a principal unaware of social media threats may fall victim to: 

  • Financial scams, 
  • Misuse of personal photos and data, 
  • Persecution and harassment, 
  • Malware, phishing,  
  • Numerous forms of violence, and 
  • Diverse harmful and illegal content (especially for children of principals). 

Bearing all this in mind will help the security team and principal’s entourage make better decisions while managing their online activities. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched close protection services.  

Handling Hostile Terminations Properly and Calmly 

Some well-known members of the security industry give armed agents precedence over unarmed ones. Yet, others believe that the latter can be equally valuable in protecting CEOs, managers, and high-net-worth individuals, especially in an office space. In any case, specific situations require more caution than others. Hence, this article will explore how to handle hostile terminations calmly and adequately. 

But first, let us look at some of the reasons for firing employees. Some of the instances why a company may terminate an employment contract include: 

  • Misconduct, harassment, discriminatory behaviour, 
  • Criminal activities, 
  • Poor performance, incompetence, insubordination, and 
  • Bad fit for the company or the position. 

In many examples, disgruntled employees are the first to lose their jobs. Consequently, they may seek retaliation by inflicting physical or reputational damage to the company’s assets or property. Others may go so far as to harm other employees or sabotage business operations. 

Such a situation mandates the introduction of security staff to handle hostile terminations. This type of team can be either in-house or outsourced. However, many employers are unaware of the process of pre-planning a cessation of contract obligations. For example, it means providing the employee with written final notice or warning, conducting investigations, and documenting reasons for ending their work relations. 

At the same time, the company in question should notify the security staff of the potential for hostile terminations. Conversely, the protective agents should themselves prepare for any contingencies in advance. 

If we examine the benefits of a security team preventing individuals from affecting a company adversely during hostile terminations, here are a few: 

  • Minimising risks of violence, 
  • Limiting interruptions, and 
  • Protecting other employees’ mental, emotional, and physical health. 

Simply put, proficient and trained security staff can help avert business discontinuance.  

hostile terminations

Tools for Managing Hostile Terminations

Many disgruntled workers and those who have received a letter informing them of being laid off do not know how to handle the situation professionally. Some may turn violent immediately or behave erratically in the process. Others could try to damage the company in a week, month, or even a year into the future. It all depends on the person and their mental acumen. 

For this reason, it is vital to determine upfront if the employee should leave the workplace as soon as the termination happens. Or if they are allowed to stay through to the close-of-business on a particular day.  

Understandably, not all employees will behave poorly or threaten the firm in any way. However, those that do can inflict irreversible harm, especially if they have access to company data, tools, and confidential client information. Additionally, they may blackmail the company leaders by threatening to sell important knowledge to the competition or making it available online to bad actors. 

To preclude such behaviour, it is helpful to institute a plan of action before it becomes a typical hostile terminations situation. Succinctly put, the procedure may include: 

  • Establishing a severance pay appropriate to that person’s position, 
  • Asking the employee politely to hand in all keys and remove relevant software from their personal devices before leaving the workplace, 
  • Ensuring that other employees cannot overhear or observe the meeting, 
  • Documenting the whole process, 
  • Contacting the human resources department to help prepare for potential issues, 
  • Allowing the employee to express their feelings and ask questions, and not simply handing over the termination letter to them, 
  • Refraining from debating or defending the decision,  
  • Removing the employee’s access to company systems and property, and 
  • Checking their phone and personal computers for any information obtained from the company illegally. 

The Possibility of Escalation

However, let us assume that the employee in question reacts badly and turns physical. To control this situation, the company’s security staff should be present at all times. By doing so, they present as a kind of visual deterrent.  

When the violent former employee notices that the protective team remains on-site, they may restrain themselves from escalating further — apart from a raised tone of voice or insults thrown at the manager and other staff members. 

Next, the security team must react swiftly and remove the person and their belongings from the company premises. If necessary, it is worth reaching out to law enforcement to avoid having the former employee contact business personnel outside the office. 

Yet, the possibility of escalation does not only refer to physical violence. In fact, the laid-off person can, later on, try to influence their now ex-colleagues to become accomplices in criminal acts against the company. For this reason, it is of vital importance to sit down with the rest of the workforce after the hostile terminations situation. 

We recommend doing some of the following things to improve trust among the remaining team members: 

  • Informing employees of the expectations and rules of the workplace, 
  • Conducting face-to-face meetings to clarify misunderstandings, 
  • Speaking openly about the former employee and why the company dismissed them — to prevent rumours and address inadequate behaviour of other employees, unless for legal matters preventing this discussion, 
  • Reassigning tasks of the ex-employee to other team members and creating a job posting to fill the position, and 
  • Organising team-building activities, including retreats and exercises, to boost employee morale and have them bond together. 

Although this is not a complete list, it entails the most frequent and effective actions employers can take to reduce the likelihood of similarly challenging situations. 

hostile terminations

In Conclusion

Most companies will, at some point, face hostile terminations. But, equally important, many will reasonably want to reduce potential company liability in the process. Therefore, employers need to engage trained and proficient security teams to maintain a productive environment and give peace of mind in terms of uninterrupted business. 

The protective staff handling hostile terminations can comprise two or more individuals. But most importantly, the company needs to inform them upfront about the intention to lay off workers. Doing so will allow the security team to prepare for emergencies and potentially poor behaviour by the ex-employee. 

Finally, by hiring skilled protective staff, the employer: 

  • Improves overall security and safety in the office during the transition, 
  • Shows respect to terminated individuals by using professional, fair, and discreet security personnel, and 
  • Demonstrates leadership and protection for the company brand. 

Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by offering unmatched hostile terminations services.