Bodyguards, often known as personal protection or close protection officers (CPOs), protect individuals or groups from risk of violence or kidnapping, or any situation which could be harmful to them.
As a bodyguard, your clients could include politicians, heads of industry, TV, film and music celebrities, and royalty.
Your work would typically include:
l protecting clients from threats, for example from terrorists, political opponents, stalkers or over-enthusiastic fans
l checking out premises before clients arrive
l planning and research to identify and prevent potential threat or disruption
l keeping constantly alert to react to threatening situations
l accompanying clients on business and social visits
l driving clients to and from venues.
You could specialise in residential security, making sure your client’s premises are secure. Alternatively, you could train to be a chauffeur, specialising in defensive and evasive driving techniques.
You may have to work long shifts including evenings and weekends, to offer 24-hour protection. You may work at indoor or outdoor venues such as conferences, political meetings and rallies, and corporate and social events.
There is likely to be a lot of travel, and you may have to spend time away from home, sometimes overseas.
Most close protection officers (CPOs) are self-employed. Earnings depend on the client or company, the length of the contract, the officer’s experience and the risks involved.
Daily rates for CPOs in low risk areas can be around £100 to £150 plus expenses.
CPOs with high levels of responsibility, or working in high risk areas, can earn £500 a day.
You must be at least 18, and would need to be physically fit, with good eyesight and hearing, and a presentable appearance. A driving licence is essential.
It may be useful to have knowledge of one or more foreign languages.
To work as a contracted CPO in England and Wales you are required by law to have a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. To get a licence you will need:
l identity and criminal record checks
l an SIA approved Level 3 qualification in close protection
l a recognised first aid certificate.
Most CPOs have a background in the Armed Forces or police, although this is not essential. To work in the high risk, most highly-paid areas of the industry you will usually need to have been in the Special Forces or specialist police units.
You would usually be self-employed on long- or short-term contracts, which can be anything from a few days to several years. Most contracts are negotiated by close protection companies and agencies.