What Is an Advance in Close Protection Operations?

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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. 

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.  

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