So, if you are reading this the chances are you have either grave concerns for your own or your family’s personal safety or have watched The Bodyguard drama on television and are thinking, “How do I hire a bodyguard” or that looks an exciting career, “How do I train to become a bodyguard”. You won’t be surprised to hear that life as a bodyguard, or close protection operative (CPO), as they prefer to be called, is not quite the same as we witness on TV. This guide offers essential advice on finding a quality bodyguard, or training to become one of the best CPOs in the industry, either way avoiding expensive mistakes along the way.

Bodyguards are required by many people, in numerous situations – not just celebrities, the rich and famous, and VIPs. It is true that no-one knows when they will have a direct threat against them, or a general concern for their own or their family’s safety.

After all, even with a bodyguard we are only safe if they are suitably qualified, physically and mentally sound, and have up-to-date skills. If you follow this guide you can’t go far wrong.

1) Convenience vs effective research

The decision to employ a bodyguard should never be taken lightly – it is a big decision and you are advised to conduct your research in choosing a close protection operative or provider wisely.

The security industry is very commercialised with lots of large corporations making massive profits. Not only supplying security professionals, but also a whole host of services from chauffeurs to cars.

All these additional services are geared at making life easier for the principal, client or employing agency requiring bodyguard services.  However consideration should be given to the level of training the close protection officers receive. Safety is much more important than convenience of ‘add-on services’, which only boost large security corporations profit margins.

Allow time for adequate research to be conducted either by yourself, or appropriate consultants.

2) When is the time right to employ a bodyguard?

Unfortunately, the cost of something going wrong can be significant resulting in injury, death, trauma, loss of assets or exposure to kidnap and extortion. Fortunately, by employing the best close protection services a whole host of threats, and the repercussions of, can be avoided. Realising and accepting that there is a potential exposure is often the first step to knowing you need to employ security protection services, a bodyguard, or close protection officer.

Fame and popularity can grow overnight, and people in certain roles can be more under-threat than they were previously.  Such as Members of Parliament (MPs) for example now demanding bodyguard protection. The need to hire a bodyguard is often instigated by an uncomfortable incident, or the unfortunate happens to someone in a similar role, provoking the need to feel safe again.

Lionel Messi - with Bodyguard

3) What is a close protection operative or bodyguard? 

It is important to understand this before you are ready to start the hiring process. A Close Protection Operative or bodyguard as defined by Wikipedia “is a type of security guard or government law enforcement officer or soldier who protects a person or a group of people – usually high-ranking public officials or officers, celebrities, and wealthy people from danger”.

CPOs are often employed by public figures such as heads of state, government, governors or by a team of bodyguards / agency setting. Protection is from many dangers such as theft, assault, kidnapping, assassination, harassment, protection of confidential information, and many other criminal offences. A group of security personnel whom protection a VIP are often referred to as VIP’s security detail.

For some people a bodyguard is needed for a single event or business trip overseas, for others the requirement for a bodyguard becomes long-term and the body

guard becomes part of their ensemble or extended family. Depending on the mission, and whom is involved, different skills will be called upon.

Female CPOs are becoming more in-demand nowadays by female celebrities and VIPs, who require softer ‘feminine skills’ such as greater compassion, pragmatism.  Female CPOs are proven to be an asset in managing conflicts, with less chances that confrontations will turn violent. Prime ministers such as David Cameron, celebrities like Beyoncé and Royalty – The Duchess of Cambridge- opted for female CPOs.

Female Bodyguard

4) Is a Bodyguard the same as a close protection officer?

Bodyguard is a generic term that most people are familiar with, however bodyguards have other titles such as close protection operative or officer, executive protection officer, personal protection officer etc. Are they the same things? The similar answer is basically: “YES”, however assignments that have higher hostility and risk require specialist skills.

Executive Protection – professional protection is often something that just happens without anyone noticing, occurring in every city, every hour, every day. Photographs of celebrities and Government officials are often seen with their accompanying ‘bodyguards’. Not all close protection is ‘overt’, some projects require a more ‘subtle’ or ‘blended’ approach. There are several specialist fields and experience demanded such as: working with children, disabled, medical needs. Softer skills may be required, opposite from the prevalent ‘macho’ style bodyguard; such as interpersonal skills, etiquette, charisma, pragmatism, managing conflicts without aggression as a first response.

Hostile Environment – this is all about carrying out close protection within hostile locations, which is when military operations and skills are imperative. These situations involve complex teamwork, operating quickly, reacting to dynamic situations and complex scenarios where control has often already been lost. Driving and medical training are often a pre-requisite in these specialist roles in the most dangerous of situations.


5) Does a bodyguard / CPO need qualifications, or a licence?

Close protection operatives or bodyguards attend several courses before they can work in the personal security industry. They also need to hold a SIA licence and qualification in Close Protection Level 3, as well as criminal record checks.

The IKF offers a course in close protection which is over and above the SIA and Highfield qualification standard covering: advanced conflict management, physical intervention tactics, arrest & control, Israeli point shooting, advanced first-aid (First person on the scene FPOSi), foot drills, weapons handling, live firing and many security techniques The IKF prides itself in supplying high-calibre CPOs that have undergone over 300 hours of training. We also encourage our students to attend skills updates regularly to ensure our they are equipped with the latest protocols to protect others safely. Read more here on the importance of skills updates in close protection, combat and self-defence.

Close protection qualification - Highfield International

6) What are Specialist close protection services?

There are several specialist missions and situations where close protection is required, some of these are defined here, but essentially protecting people and assets in a whole host of situations:

Aviation security – escorting of crew and cargo to destination, additional airport security.

Close protection – protection of personal, property and estates, protection from hostile environments, armed CPOs, specialist vehicles, escorting personnel and assets.

Kidnap and extortion – protection for those susceptible to kidnap and extortion attempts or venturing into territories where risk is high.

Maritime security – security on the water for captains, crews, protection from pirate attacks, threat of kidnap, ransom and extortion, armed protection in hostile environments.

Military grade protection – provision of close protection services drawn from specialist military and law enforcement background or domestic and international assignments for senior executives, VIPs and global corporations.

Residential security – reassurance and protection for the safety of clients’ family, assets and home.

Security consulting – often the employing person is unsure about the level of protection required at the outset and needs specialist advice to ensure the correct provision.

Security chauffeur – safe and reliable transportation of individuals and assets, dealing and responding to perceived threats, qualified in safe driving and certified in close protection to provide maximum reassurance.

Secure journey management – professional escorting of clients safely and securely on journeys from home to destination. Booking in advance is advised with a professional security team to avoid unlicensed, uninsured security personnel, poor interaction with executives and lack of fit and blend, that are often supplied at short-notice even in developed countries.

7) How difficult is it to hire bodyguard?

It is certainly not difficult, there are many security companies out there more than happy to take your booking and money right now. However, finding the right bodyguard for your individual needs or assignment poses a greater challenge. Most professional companies will work with you to find the best bodyguard whom can fit in with your lifestyle without causing disruption.

The Israeli Protection Services (IPS) sister company of the International KAPAP Federation (IKF) often has clients come to them from all over the world, all with differing needs and varying degrees of threats. Being an Israeli based company, we are experienced in dealing with hostile environments due to our birthplace Israel. Our instructors are all from military, police and close protection instructor backgrounds, not past but current which is our main differentiator. All our CPOs are trained by us and closely vetted, we never outsource to other companies, guaranteeing the quality of our close protection operatives. The IKF is a training company with a commitment to continuously updating and developing skills in-line with changing prevailing threats, is pivotal to our success and ensures the quality of our CPO / bodyguards is second to none.

The IKF is actively involved through our network of clubs globally in countries notorious for conflict such as: Israel, Argentina, Chile and Korea, and others: Bermuda, Canada, Czech-republic, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, UK. Urugary and USA. Commonly, we are asked for our advice in protecting people in hostile environments due to our experience and dedication to high quality training. Protection is often sought in countries such as the Middle East or Africa, needed by individuals with a high net worth, VIPs, celebrities and Royalty.Close protection, Bodyguard

8) Need a bodyguard? Where do you start?

Research, short-list & interview
  1. Often a search on Google is the start for most people!
  2. Searching “close protection” or “hire a bodyguard” and seeing what turns up.
  3. See the variety of companies that come up, whether they are local to you, provide nationwide or global coverage.
  4. Visit their websites – are they professional and knowledgeable, check out their social media presences, read reviews and check-up on their popularity.
  5. What is the mission of the company, the ethos, is it a good fit with your requirements? Are they authentic and believable, backed up by security industry experience and qualifications?
  6. Are they posting pictures of celebrities, in flash cars and their homes which could be potential breaches of security and privacy? Ask yourself if the respect and treatment of their other clients feels right to you.
  7. Create a list of your top 3 potential suppliers – dig deeper into them looking at independent online reviews, Google reviews,, Facebook etc. Get a good feel of general satisfaction, are they honest and reliable? Once this is completed it is time to ask more in-depth questions and speak to someone at the organisation to check if they are right for you. Meeting them in person to formally interview them may not be out of the question, with a simple skype and zoom meetings putting a face to a name is often a good decider.

9) Questions to ask when hiring a bodyguard:

  • What is the level of training of bodyguards or close protection operatives?
  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • How often are their skills updated?
  • How many hours training have they completed?
  • Where are the based? How long have they been established for?
  • Can I see their CVs?
  • Cost of their services, payment terms and conditions.
  • Will Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreement be supplied and signed?

Always take time in making your final decision, the more questions you ask the better you will get a feel for the service they offer. Once you know the company has the correct experience and pre-requisites, it is now about getting the right fit for you. A professional security company will not give you the hard sell, but instead instil you with confidence in the close protection services they provide. The cheapest is often cheap for a reason and should be avoided, as ultimately you are putting your life and personal safety in their hands.

Just remember it is fine to ask as many questions as you deem necessary, matching your requirements to the close protection officer with the best skills set is vitally important.

A professional company will vet you as much as you vet them giving you greater assurance that they really know their stuff.

10) What information will I be asked to provide?

When you are ready to contact companies and obtain quotations, it is best to have answers to the following questions ready:

  1. Who is the close protection for?
  2. Any requirement for protection of children or those with special needs?
  3. Location close protection is required?
  4. What is the perceived level of threat?
  5. Do you require police liaison?
  6. Covert or overt close protection? (Undercover or visible)
  7. Are vehicles required? Type needed.
  8. Underlying health problems, or medication needs of those requiring protection.
  9. Number of hours / days service is needed?
  10. Length of assignment, whether it is a one off or regular protection arrangement?
  11. Any language requirements?
  12. Any trained security drivers needed?
  13. Food and accommodation arrangements.

11) Interested in training to become a close protection operative, CPO or bodyguard?

The IKFCQB offers range of courses in combat, self-defence and training of close protection operatives (SIA licenced and approved by Highfield). There are lots of providers in the industry offering all competing on price, however that does not guarantee that quality training or the right support will be received.

Those serious about becoming a high-calibre close protection operative should choose their course provider wisely. IKF course offers in-depth knowledge over and above the standard requirement, such as Israeli point shooting, unique KAPAP, extra foot drills and advanced conflict management. The course is taught by active serving, Israeli Special Forces trainers, former SAS communication and combat trainers, former British Police National Firearms Instructors and Defensive Tactics Trainers as well as current CPO Team Leaders. By selecting a course taught by active in the field instructors, the protocols you will learn are the most up-to-date, giving you greater confidence in your new role.

The course is intensive, over a 16-day period offering total immersion and full-on training, the opportunity to mix with other delegates and form useful networks with like-minded individuals in a military setting. The IKF course is perfect for those who are looking for a higher quality course taught by recognised industry professionals in their field. Next course date: 30th March – 14th April 2019

12) Where to find help in recruiting a CPO or bodyguard

The IKF as a unique training provider and specialist trainer to the military, police and close protection instructing industry. We can offer specialist and unbiased advice in the recruitment of close protection operatives, officers and bodyguards. All our instructors are actively serving in the military, police or active close protection sectors.

Every close protection officer or bodyguard who qualifies with the IKF undergoes extensive training over and above the SIA / Highfield Qualification Standards. Our network of CPOs is meticulously trained by us to operate with integrity and deliver a standard of protection that is second to none.

Our deployments are never outsourced; we take great pride in resourcing bodyguards only trained by us, The IKF; that is how we ensure the quality of our CPOs. We would be delighted to assist you with finding the right close protection officer, operative, bodyguard for your personal security needs so you can just carry-on with your day, business, whatever life throws at you, without disruption and knowing you are fully protected. Contact Israeli Protection Services, text or telephone: +44 7817 565170.



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