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  • Writer's pictureAscalon Protection Group

Qualities To Look For In A Close Protection Operative

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

qualities to look for close protection operative

The job of a professional Close Protection Operative is not a simple one, often requiring dynamic, personable and resilient individuals. So are the specific qualities and attributes that Close Protection Operatives should possess?

The first important trait for a Bodyguard is a high degree of logical aptitude; the ability to proactively plan ahead but to also think on their feet in order to react quickly and effectively to a changing situation. Close Protection operations and movements are usually meticulously planned (when time constraints allow) however sometimes the situation can change, and teams are forced to come up with alternative courses of action whilst simultaneously considering several factors. This is why top-quality Operatives often hail from a Military or Police background, as during their careers they will have operated under similar operational pressures which are typically very difficult to replicate in other organisations or industries.

Another quality which can sometimes be overlooked, is what is known as soft skills, and is a trait which all the best Bodyguards in the business will have. This is not only limited to understanding the etiquette required when working with certain clients, and being able to conduct themselves in a manner befitting the client’s status, but also the personable ability to understand different social interactions and adapt in order to achieve the desired outcome or more importantly, to manage conflict. This is particularly important in the world of Close Protection where Operatives are regularly dealing with external parties, whether it be hotel staff, PAs, fans or members of the public. Often the “one size fits all” approach does not work with everyone, and Operatives not understanding how to properly deal with certain situations can hinder the operation or security of the client.

There are certain stereotypes surrounding Bodyguards, mainly the Hollywood image of a larger-than-life John Wick style character, however this is not always the reality. For example, the British Royal Family, who are some of the most high-profile individuals in the world; their Protection teams are made up of some of the most highly-trained and highly-competent individuals from the Metropolitan Police, but most of them you could walk past in the street and not give them a second look, and are usually “normal” looking people, wearing plain clothes with a small discrete earpiece.

However, despite the many shapes and sizes that Close Protection Operatives come in, many of them should and will possess some form of combat skillset. This can be in disciplines such as Boxing, Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or in contact sports such as Rugby or American Football. This will also be supplemented by weapons-handling attributes in countries where Operatives are permitted to carry firearms. Whilst physical intervention of any kind is not only rare, but also always a last resort for competent Operatives, having skillsets such as these coupled with a Military or Police pedigree provide an extra level of protection and reassurance for the client, that in the event that something does go wrong, it can be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

Additionally, although not a necessity, many individuals will also possess specialist skillsets, such as language skills, personal training certifications, advanced driving, or adventure training qualifications, to name a few.

The attributes which are most desirable will often depend on the client. Some may place more emphasis on Operatives will a high-level of combat skills and a large physical presence, whereas other clients may wish to employ Operatives who are extremely personable and have very strong soft skills. However as stated previously, almost all of the top Bodyguards in the industry will have a good blend of logical aptitude, soft skills, and combat training.



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