HABC Level 3 Close Protection Course
The course consists of the following aspects:
Session 1: Roles and Responsibilities of a Close Protection Operative:
The first element is to understand is your role as a close protection specialist. Many believe that an Operative’s role is just protecting the client from harm in a physical sense, however as you will learn, your role as a Close Protection Operative goes much further. Once you take on a client or become part of a team working on a detail, your client will expect to be protected against all forms of harm. This includes public embarrassment and humiliation, being on-time for meetings, making key appointments timely, eavesdropping prevention techniques, seamless schedule changes and flexibility as well as protection from physical harm. During this course you will learn to become proficient in your role and carry the confidence required for your role in Close Protection.
The image of a Close Protection Operative has changed over the years. At one point in time, which is still relevant in some case, is the image of a muscle bound guard standing behind a client looking tough in a tight t-shirt, however in the international world of today, the majority of top clients prefer a clean cut silent professional that is present when needed, however does not give the image that he actually some form of a ‘trigger happy’ bodyguard ready to beat someone who disagrees with the client. Throughout the duration of the course you will learn how to be the silent professional agent that the international market is looking for. Our professional instructors have been working in the field of Close Protection for several years in the International Close Protection industry, hold a valid SIA Licence and have exceptional knowledge to pass along to you.
Session 2: Threat and risk assessment
Threat and Risk Assessment is one of the most important skills that a Close Protection Operative needs to develop. During this course Agents will learn to make key decisions on the level of protection and the style of protection needed for their client. This is the point in which Agents learn how to gather, evaluate data and intelligence to make key decisions that will affect their clients. You will learn how to take information and formulate a valid risk assessment which may also help protect you later from civil and criminal litigation in cases where ‘use of force’ was applied. Threat and risk assessment also applies to reading people, reading faces, micro-expressions from outside individuals in crowds and subject walking or sitting next to your client. Learning to read hands, faces and body language is a key role in identifying threats prior to an assault. Indicators will be present in many cases that a Close Protection Operative must learn to identify and act accordingly to prevent harm from coming to their client. The key to remember is if something looks out of the ordinary, then it must be investigated. In many cases it could be nothing, it could be a distraction to cause a change in the operative’s position or movement or it could be the pending assault, therefore all contingencies must be considered and acted out accordingly.
Session 3: Surveillance awareness
It is no secret that professional criminal and terrorist organizations conduct extensive surveillance on facilities and people prior to conducting any kind of assault or criminal action. During this course Operatives will learn how to develop surveillance detection and assault recognition skills. It is highly important that these skills are developed prior to taking on your role in the Close Protection arena and throughout this course, our instructors will help you build those skills sets and trade craft. There are two types of criminal activity that the Close Protection Operative need to be concerned about. One is crimes of opportunity, in which a criminal has an opportunity and take that opportunity to commit a crime. An example would be a low-grade criminal sitting on a bench and seeing your client walk by with a purse, at which point he jumps up grabs the purse and flees. In this example, no surveillance was done on your client, this was merely is a crime of opportunity which is easily warded off by you and your team. When a crime of opportunity is committed, in most cases the perpetrator has not given much thought to his method of operations or his escape, therefore leaving many avenues for you and your team to prevent such incidents. The second is the career criminal that performs extensive surveillance, intelligence gathering, bribing of your clients and generally have extensive resources. The surveillance stage will be the stage in which you are most likely to identify that you, your team or your client have just been targeted. During this course work both in the classroom and practical exercises; you will learn how to identify these indicators and identify when you are under surveillance and how to respond to such incidents.
Session 4: Operational planning
The operational planning is where we combine all of our intelligence, threat analysis data, team experience and operational knowledge to put together a flawless operational program which includes our contingency operations, roles of each agent, logistics, communications, medical emergencies and everything that pertains to the entire operation. During this course each Agent will learn how to put together and execute operations from start to finish. Give team and client briefs as well as do a variety of mission planning exercises and learn mission planning theories.
Session 5: Law and legislation
During this portion of your work you will learn UK Law and Legislation as it applies to search, restriction of personnel, use of force and what you can and cannot do in the role of a Close Protection Operative as required for your SIA license. Just because we take on a close protection role does not give us a license to ‘do as we wish’ and it is highly important we learn our boundaries to avoid legal complications which could cause problems for the company who employs you, cost you a job, civil and criminal liability, and even client embarrassment. Once you have completed this portion you will have the confidence and knowledge to carry out your duties in a legal and professional manner and help avoid legal problems throughout your career.
Session 6: Interpersonal skills
Development of your interpersonal skills is what will make or break your relationship inside your team, with the general public, as well as with your client. A Close Protection Operative who comes across to everyone as being a ‘know-it-all’ will eventually alienate himself and cause the team to become inefficient. There is a saying that holds true in the world of close protection. A self-proclaimed expert knows nothing and a professional knows he has much to learn. Very few become an expert in the field of Close Protection, because it is rapidly evolving and changes from year to year as well as client to client and operational environments. Learning how to work as a team, to not look for self-gain and recognition from each detail and focus on the needs of the client is how we in the Close Protection field become recognized as true professionals. Once in the role of a Close Protection Operative, you need to hold yourself at a higher standard than that of a standard citizen, because the world is watching.
Session 7: Close Protection Teamwork and Briefing
Reconnaissance plays its role in a few aspects of Close Protection. Its gives the team a chance to check a location to check for areas that could be of potential harm, points of assault or attacks, choke points as well as potentials for eavesdropping on their clients. Remember, your role is to protect your client from all forms of harm. Doing proper reconnaissance also allows a team to determine contingencies for incidents and learn the layout of a location to avoid embarrassment with the client by not knowing the proper location in which he is to arrive and depart. A thorough in-depth reconnaissance could even include running background checks on a locations employees as well as covert intelligence gathering. Through this course students will learn different methodologies and tactics for gathering key information during their reconnaissance phases of their mission planning and perform exercises under the watchful eye of our professional instructors to help students build a strong foundation for these skills.
Session 8: Close Protection Foot Drills
Walking with your client while watching for potential threats is a skill that every close protection agent must master before entering into the world of Close Protection. Imagine stepping on your client’s heel and he stumbles and falls which would cause an embarrassing moment as well as shows the client he has an agent that has no situational awareness skills at all, not to mention just embarrassed him publically. So, during this course students will spend a lot of time, learning to walk with clients, where to stand, how to move their feet, where and how to set up security positions based off of their threat assessments and reconnaissance reports and most importantly how to read their clients movements and anticipate the clients movements without getting in their way. The key is to stay out of your client’s way and always be in a position to intervene when the time is needed for your action.
Session 9: Route selection
The two elements we generally have the most control over in our movements is time and place predictability so route selection is important for many reasons. Routes should be chosen based on their effectiveness to get the client to his destination timely, safely as well as comfortably, but the most obvious choice may not always be the number one choice. If frequent vehicle movements are made down the same streets day after day at the same time, then this creates a pattern for criminals to work from and which could make an assault on a motorcade a much easier option and will put your client at risk. Just because there is a straight road to a destination for your client doesn’t always mean it is the most efficient and the creation of these patterns is a mistake that has costs numerous lives to be lost in years past by key individuals in high risk environments. Many considerations have to be evaluated such as traffic, potential for assaults, choke points, availabilities to run clearing routes and alternate routes. During this course you will learn how to combine all the knowledge and skills you have learned to be able to choose the most viable route for your client.
Session 10: Close Protection Journey Management
Journey management is a complex and logistical component of a Close Protection Operatives mission planning. Here we will discuss how to plan and organize for trips such as international travel for clients, airport pick-up and meet and greets. You will learn how to reverse plan for time schedules as well as acquire additional resources and put together a professional and flawless movement which will make your client return for services time and time again. A true test of an agent’s management skills revolves around strong journey management skills.
Session 11: Use of close protection vehicle techniques
Driving skills that a Close Protection Agent must learn are not just the evasive offensive and Defensive driving skills used during the contingencies, but how to comfortably drive a client from one point to the next in both a safe and comfortable manner. No client wants to be thrown around in the back of the vehicle while he is trying to keep his suit on straight. Remember in many cases his comfort is just as important to him as his safety. The use of a vehicle in an emergency situation is a skill that must be practiced and rehearsed in the field as well as in the driver’s mind. The mindset of the driver has to be quick and reactive and the skills of the driver must be above all others. Once behind the wheel of a vehicle, you are now in control of a very useful tool in the arsenal of your team. A vehicle can be used as a shield, a getaway, rescue barrier and decoy. Those who take on the role of a driver in the field of Close Protection have a big role to play in the contingency operations and the overall success of their team.
Session 12: Search awareness
Searching is a skill that must be mastered prior to becoming a member of the Close Protection profession. You must be able to safely locate explosive devices, wire taps, intrusion devices, people and obtrusive surveillance devices. At several times throughout an operation the agent may need to sweep buildings and rooms for occupants, unlocked windows and doors and make hasty efficient searches. This is a skill students will learn to develop throughout the multiple scenarios in the course. Nothing can be missed or your mission could become a failure.
Session 13: Incidents Management and Dilemmas
Incidents and dilemmas are the true moments where a Close Protection Operative is tested. His reactions and responses to each and every incident MUST be accurate and appropriate for the situation. A true professional can think outside of the box and make quick decisions to deescalate a situation and keep the client from harm. During the multiple exercises throughout this course, you will be put through real world scenarios and put into situations that require you to learn exactly what Close Protection work is all about and how to deal with the multitude of incidents and dilemmas that will arise throughout your career.
Session 14: Venue based security
Working venue based security can be one of Close Protections more complex and challenging tasks. In many situations the Close protection agent will not be in close proximity to their client, therefore making it much more difficult to protect. This is where situational awareness, the ability to process large amounts of ongoing information and good operational preparation come into play. Through this course you will learn all the aspects of venue based security and exactly how to go about conducting these complex and challenging missions.
One of the primary elements that students will focus on throughout their training will be that aspect of a sharp, focused and responsive mindset. It is the key fundamental that make the difference between a good operative and an excellent operative. A close Protection Operative must be able to maintain a 100% commitment to the safety and security of their client and be weary and quick to respond to situations that may arise. This included deception detection techniques as well as surveillance and assault recognition skills. Without the proper mindset, key elements and key indicators may be missed, which will put you, your team and your client at risk. Identifying complacency is an important role in the role of a Close Protection Operative. Much like in Law Enforcement, a police officer may go his entire career without facing a life threatening situation and this also applies to the Close Protection. An agent can perform hundreds of details or client movements and never face a life threatening or even a situation that requires any kind of physical use of force. This is why complacency becomes an issue in the mindset of a Close Protection Operative. It is highly important to recognize when your mind begins to become complacent and make the corrections to place your mindset back on track. You may be assigned to stand a post for hour after hour and boredom becomes your only company. There are methods and exercises that can be learned which defeat this feeling of boredom and assist in completing your mission with a combat ready mindset. True professionals learn how to train their mind to react to situations and take appropriate measures out of muscle memory. They have trained their mind to react without hesitation. Training does not end once you have finished your certification course. You will learn exercises that will assist you to continuing to build a combat and non-complacent mindset throughout your career from our professional instructors.
Communication and Conflict Management Skills:
Students will also attend a four session course which consists of Avoiding Conflict and Reducing Personal Risk, Defusing Conflict, Resolving and Learning from Conflict as well as Application of Communication Skills and Conflict Management for Security Guarding and Close Protection. Learning proper communication skills will save you a lot of work, self-embarrassment as well as embarrassment to your client. Communication is not only what comes from our mouths through our communications sets and ear pieces. It is also what we communicate to others through our appearance, facial expressions, gestures and the way we carry ourselves. Professionalism is contagious. If you provide professionalism towards a person, they are more likely to return the same. However, treating a person in an ignorant manner will more than likely lead to an incident which could result in an embarrassing moment for your client. These are skills that you as a Close Protection Operative must learn to identify about yourself and hone to become in your control. You need to learn to control your mind as well as your body. Without these skills, and learning how to adapt to people and your surroundings will make or break your career in Close Protection.