Close Protection in Indonesia: Challenges and Resources
Experts define assets in several ways. Usually, they think of them in relation to physical, economic, institutional, and human assets. As for the CP industry, local assets are seen as one of the most valuable items for a security team travelling to a foreign country with distinctive demands. If you were to require services of close protection in Indonesia, you would need to engage a proficient team of security specialists offering a wide range of services, including:
- Transport and logistics,
- Risk management, and
- Remote medicine.
Apart from the obvious need for physical protection, foreigners travelling to Indonesia want to feel unimpeded by security concerns while conducting business. As the world’s fourth most populous nation and a member of the G-20, the Asian country has plenty on offer to investors looking to spend and grow their wealth. These include high-net-worth individuals and families, executives, and business leaders.
Speaking of which, the Indonesian economy has been steadily rising over the last few years. In fact, some of the biggest industries in the Asian country include:
- Petroleum and natural gas,
- Textiles and apparel,
- Footwear, and others.
In other words, plenty of room for foreigners and locals seeking to invest. Nevertheless, many high-profile individuals do not stop to consider their security and safety, with only a relatively small number hiring experienced teams. We see proof of this in numerous news reports and hear compelling stories in the security industry.
For this and a plethora of other reasons, we shall explore close protection in Indonesia. In addition, this article will investigate how this type of service can benefit high-ranking business people and government officials alike.
Indonesia: The Center of Global Attention in 2022
The current year promises to be eventful for the Indonesians. Especially bearing in mind that G20 will be taking place there toward the end of the year. For those not too interested in the news, G20 comprises 20 countries representing more than 80% of the world’s GDP, 60% of the world population, and 75% of international trade.
Simply put, the strategic multilateral platform will summon heads of state and governments of some of the most powerful countries. They shall travel to Indonesia to sign trade and financial arrangements, furthering their interests. Expectedly, hundreds of high-ranking government officials will gather in Bali, the Indonesian province and island. As a result, security forces will be on high alert.
Moreover, the memories of the 2002 Bali bombings and the 2016 Jakarta shootings are fresh in the minds of many.
Note: Another major event in Indonesia is this year’s motorcycle Grand Prix. It is an exquisite event and a constituent part of the motorcycle racing World Championship. In other words, a prominent happening that will attract dozens of thousands of racing lovers, including business executives and government officials.
The gathering of such large crowds calls for increased vigilance to secure the immediate surroundings of some of the most influential people in attendance. In the event of traffic congestions and floods in some parts of Indonesia ― including Bali as the country’s most-visited island ― it may be easier for malicious actors to plan and execute kidnappings, assaults, and robberies.
To combat this issue, high-profile individuals need to engage security teams with experience as:
- Security drivers,
- Risk management specialists,
- Close protection officers, and
- Security medics.
A combination of these skillsets is bound to help make their stay in the Asian country safe and sound.
Expat and Local Resources
In a globalised world, skilled workers and educated professionals are increasingly taking up positions outside their home country. These arrangements are set up either independently or by their employers. And Indonesia is no exception to this trend.
Accordingly, numerous CEOs and enterprise leaders travel to Indonesia to conduct business. Furthermore, many have now settled there, mainly in the capital city of Jakarta. According to local authorities, around 350,000 expatriates live in Indonesia, with approximately 20,000 Australians and 10,000 Americans.
A considerable number works in the sectors we described above. But most importantly ― while living or staying in this Asian nation ― one must consider their physical security, especially those working for foreign companies with branches in Indonesia. These individuals are particularly vulnerable to assaults, attacks, and robberies of all kinds.
Conversely, many expats work for security companies in Indonesia. In fact, some estimates suggest that more than 100 safety and security companies operate in the country. However, not all of them are well-versed in the art of close protection in Indonesia. Therefore, identifying a firm that has access to those trained in this space is imperative when travelling to the Asian nation.
Apart from being a significant exporter of natural gas and crude petroleum, Indonesia is one of the world’s leading suppliers of coffee, cocoa, rubber, and palm oil. With its manufacturing sector contributing to 20% of GDP, the government intends to propel Indonesia into the top 10 largest economies globally by 2030.
These are only some of the economic resources and sectors that attract foreign investments and companies. For instance, as the refinery production has been under control by the government-owned petroleum company Pertamina, foreign oil companies operate as part of a production-sharing formula. As per this arrangement, the Indonesian government remains the sole owner of the oil, while foreign companies act as contractors who provide the necessary capital.
In addition, private domestic and foreign banks operating in Indonesia are among the most suitable Asian countries to invest in and grow the wealth of HNWIs, executives, and business leaders. In fact, with more than 120 commercial banks, there are plenty of growth opportunities.
The Challenges of Providing Close Protection in Indonesia
Switching back to delivering close protection in Indonesia, we want to address the security outlook in the country as a whole. Since the nation declared independence in 1945, it has been mainly focused on internal security issues. These include, but are not restricted to:
- Communal and religious violence,
- Ideological tension, and
- Political conflict among the elites.
The four issues produce a substantial impact on internal order and political stability. In 2016, an alleged Islamic State group claimed the lives of an Indonesian and a Canadian in the capital of Jakarta. What’s more, 20 people were also injured, including an Austrian, German, Algerian, and a Dutchman. The series of shootings and explosions took place partially in a shopping area popular among foreigners and close to the United Nations offices.
It is unclear whether the foreigners, in particular, were on the receiving end of any protective services. However, what is clear is that the challenges of providing close protection in Indonesia are many and various. From terrorism to internal conflict, foreigners and locals find themselves almost equally exposed to the dangers present in the Asian nation of 273 million.
The Reliability and Dependability of Personnel
It is always challenging to come by protective agents who will meet all the security needs of the principal. The person receiving protection expects to be able to rely on the security staff at all times. For example, the protective agent needs to stand in the proper position and be responsive for all possible situations ― and not enjoy a cup of coffee in a nearby restaurant while the executive conducts business in a corporate office.
In addition, they must attempt to blend into their surroundings but also have some control over it, discreetly scanning for any potential threats. For example, if the principal enters a shop to buy groceries, the security staff does not need to necessarily follow them everywhere. The risk and principal will dictate the level of proximity of the protection staff.
In any case, we recommend engaging a multi-gender security team so that either females or males can be close in all situations, including apartments, restrooms, etc.
Furthermore, the Principal, i.e., client, wants to be confident that the protective staff is ready to implement assignments ― that do not impede the principal’s safety, that is. Because, after all, the well-being of the client comes first.
As one protection expert notes: “Clients like to know that assigned tasks will be carried out to their satisfaction, without any hesitation or lapse of confidence.”
Especially in Indonesia, it is vital to know who you are hiring and why. Therefore, reliability plays a crucial role in the process, particularly in a climate where many presumed protective agents claim to be someone they are certainly not.
On a similar note, the security staff needs to be well versed in the art of communication. In this instance, it is not only necessary to have CPOs who are proficient in using words to de-escalate. As a matter of fact, the protective agents must know how to read expression, posture, and tone of voice to derive meaning.
Therefore, they should comprehend this information to best respond in certain situations, especially those that require de-escalation. In fact, the security staff needs to attend proper training to learn how to talk down a potential attacker.
Within major built-up areas, telecommunications tend to be semi-reliable. On that note, messaging services are utilised commonly in Indonesia due to low costs. In addition, floods and other natural disasters can also affect communication channels while operating in Indonesia. However, most people work across multiple networks to ensure continued access.
Further, the disruption of electricity provision implies that protective agents need to use a satellite phone. In Indonesia, there are no restrictions on satellite phones. Hence, we highly recommend that CP teams or personnel carry one, especially when operating outside of major cities.
More worryingly, however, the frequent power cuts can leave some cities in darkness during long periods. All this can promote the conditions for jeopardising the security and safety of the protectee, their entourage, and their family.
To say the least, the country is facing various issues that influence the provision of close protection in Indonesia. Communication challenges are only one among many.
Governmental and Administrative Challenges
According to one report by the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo, five major issues continue to plague Indonesia due to poor regulation, social unpredictability, and other issues:
- Role of the state and government vis-à-vis the people,
- Capacity and resources available to the Indonesian government,
- Separation of powers between the administration, judiciary, and legislature, and how they operate internally,
- Manner in which the political system functions, and
- Relationship between state and markets in Indonesia.
All these issues serve as destabilising factors of the situation on the ground. Yet, the proclaimed goal of the government’s decentralisation efforts since 2000 was to decrease corruption in governmental institutions. Regardless, Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index ranked Indonesia 102th out of 180 countries, a drop from 96 in 2019.
Corruption specifically impacts how the country’s justice and civil service sectors operate. Furthermore, the complex bureaucracy and unpredictable regulatory and legal environment tend to adversely affect the country’s locals, expats, and people visiting Indonesia for a short period. Expectedly, those offering close protection in Indonesia need to bear all this information in mind to plan for contingencies and corrupt officials who may want to take advantage of the principal. This is another argument as to why it is so important to utilise a quality local team specialising in close protection in Indonesia.
One of the biggest challenges facing Indonesia pertains to environmental conditions. In 2020, Indonesia ranked 9th out of 106 countries with the worst air quality in the Air Quality Index. A factor to consider for principals with respiratory or health issues affected by this. This is largely due to the heavy use of transportation by such a large population. However, additional factors such as industrial use of fossil fuels and volcano activity, impact the environmental conditions as well.
With an exceptionally varied topography, climate, and geography, the Asian nation is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. These include extreme events like floods and long-term changes, including shifts in rainfall patterns, increasing temperature, and sea-level rise.
For instance, Jakarta has a high risk of flood as more than 40% of the capital city is situated below sea level. According to one report, “Another source of flood hazard is due to the 13 rivers that pass through the area. Different low-lying parts of the city experience flooding on an annual basis resulting in disruption of local economic and social activities.”
Flooding significantly impacts road movements. Not only does the actual water create a safety risk. But it leads to large amounts of congestion on already overcrowded roads. Information such as this is valuable while doing close protection in Indonesia. Proficient protective agents know how to constantly obtain the latest updates, including meteorological data.
By meticulously reading the news in search of potential threats to their client, the close protection officer tries to predict adverse events and respond to them appropriately.
In terms of its road infrastructure, Indonesia ranks 60th out of 138 economies, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. An unsatisfactory ranking, the poor state of its roads contributes significantly to how the country functions ― including its business sector.
Many categories of the population experience trouble driving around and working properly. Likewise, HNWIs and executives are not exempt. Notably, foreign investors sometimes hesitate to invest in Indonesia. The reason being high logistics and transportation costs resulting from poor road infrastructure. In fact, the state of the country’s roads also has the potential of endangering the security of people.
Besides, Indonesia does not have a sufficient number of roads, airports, harbours, and bridges, while the existing infrastructure is weak. Therefore, protective agents must consider this while planning transportation and logistics.
The problems that Indonesians and foreigners experience whilst living or working there are manifold. Thus, it is up to the close protection industry to offer creative solutions that take into consideration all the variables. From natural disasters to political unrest, and other relevant elements of day-to-day life in the Asian nation.
Finally, we hope this article has helped shed light on the complexity of doing close protection in Indonesia. Furthermore, it is worth stressing that local quality teams are probably the number one asset in delivering state-of-the-art CP services.
Companies like Panoptic Solutions support individuals and organisations in enhancing productivity and peace of mind by delivering unmatched close protection in Indonesia.