Unarmed vs Armed Bodyguards and Executive Protection Australia, Asia, and Beyond – let’s 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 enter 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 in 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 that do allow legal access to firearms.

In circumstances where armed EP is not an option due to certain country’s 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 are 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, identify any possible risks to manage/ mitigate and implements procedures to address them.

Armed Executive Protection Australia, Asia, and Beyond – Discussion points

unarmed executive protection

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 weapons. 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 a matter 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-defence 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 transparency 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 EPOs. 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 is 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 that 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 that 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 combative 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 that 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 that 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 combative.

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.

Panoptic offers 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.

Scroll to Top