Bodyguards and Executive Protection Specialists

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What is a Bodyguard?

A bodyguard, or personal protection specialist, is a security guard who protects another person from various dangers such as assault, kidnapping, assassination, loss of confidential information, or other threats. Bodyguards provide security and protection for:

  • Government officials, heads of state, and other political figures
  • Celebrities who need protection from overly aggressive fans
  • Prominent business members such as CEOs
  • Other wealthy individuals

Protection may come in the form of a single protection specialist or a team of experts who perform various security-related functions.

The Role of a Bodyguard

Bodyguards are often trained in firearms, hand-to-hand combat, tactical driving, and know-how to administer first aid. In multi-agent protection units, individuals may specialize in specific tasks, such as a bouncer, providing a protective escort, crowd screening, and control, searching for explosives, or screening for electronic surveillance devices.

Bodyguards may also work with other security personnel to conduct threat and/or risk assessments and analyze potential security weaknesses.

At times, they will examine a premise or venue before their clients arrive to determine the location of entrances and exits, find potential security weaknesses, and interview the staff.  In addition, security specialists may conduct research to be aware of potential threats to their clients, such as a protest by a radical group or the release from custody of a person who is a known threat.

While escorting a client, protection teams must remain alert and be able to react quickly to threatening situations. Sometimes, team members may drive their clients, which means they must be aware of suspicious vehicles and prepared to execute evasive or defensive driving techniques.

Tools and Equipment that Bodyguards Use

Depending on the laws, jurisdiction, and type of agency or security service, guards may be armed with a lethal gun or a non-lethal weapon such as a stun gun, pepper spray, or a TASER.

Agents from government security agencies that protect heads of state may carry a handgun, a fully automatic machine pistol, or a mini-submachine gun. Guards from security agencies like the Secret Service often wear body armor to protect themselves from gunfire.

Please see our surveillance equipment section to learn more about the personal protection devices and surveillance equipment used.

Bodyguard Job Requirements

Bodyguards often work long shifts to provide 24-hour protection, and shifts often include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Since they follow their clients, work locations may range from indoor office meetings or social events to outdoor rallies or concerts. Guards often travel by car, train, and plane to escort their clients, and international travel may be required.

Persons in this field often have backgrounds in the military, law enforcement, security services, or prison guard services.  They may also be an expert in martial arts. Individuals must be physically fit, with good eyesight and hearing.

They must have a presentable appearance, especially for close protection work for dignitaries and heads of state. A driver’s license is usually required. Individuals must be licensed in the UK and some other countries, which involves identity and criminal record checks.

Bodyguards need to be observant and possess quick reflexes. They should be able to work as a team member with assigned tasks or act independently, adapt, and improvise an appropriate response if needed. They must recognize potentially dangerous situations and remain calm under pressure.

They require good interpersonal and communication skills and strong decision-making and planning skills. Since security experts accompany their clients throughout their day, they will be privy to the client’s private life, which means they have to show discretion and maintain confidentiality.

Books and Reference Material

If you provide personal protection and bodyguarding services in addition to private investigation services, it may be helpful to brush up on the latest approaches and techniques. The following books provide helpful information. You’ll find information such as:

  • How to become a bodyguard, where to get the proper training, and how to find a job
  • Self-defense and personal protection tips to keep yourself and your client safe in dangerous situations
  • Equipment, accessories, and tools used to keep clients safe
  • How to evaluate a location, scene, or automobile to identify potential security threats
  • Offensive and defensive driving maneuvers
  • Awareness and observation techniques

Diving into the world of celebrity protection, ‘Introduction to Celebrity Protection and Touring’ unveils the intricate layers of the bodyguard industry. Far beyond physical defense, modern protection specialists, as penned by industry experts Elijah Shaw and Dale June, master the art of verbal negotiation. The book zooms in on safeguarding celebrities in touring, filming, and appearances, where reputation matters as much as safety. With global scrutiny, the text offers practical strategies against threats, unruly fans, and paparazzi. Drawing from Grammy Awards to White House experiences, this guide equips readers with real-world insights into this dynamic sector.

This book is written from the perspective of people who work in professional protection groups and teams. It focuses on the techniques used by professional organizations such as the Secret Service, State Department Security, Policemen, and other protective services that work to keep people safe worldwide. If you run a security company or manage a team, this book will help you understand how to run it properly and keep your clients safe.

Originally published in 1998, “Introduction to Executive Protection” has been the cornerstone of the executive security field. In its 4th edition, Dale L. June, drawing on his Secret Service, law enforcement, and private sector background, presents over 60% new material, incorporating fresh content, chapters, and insights. More than an introduction, the book is a potent learning resource co-authored by Elijah Shaw, a leading expert in global celebrity and VIP security. The text showcases real-world instances of safeguarding public figures from stalking to assassination attempts, delving into tactics and mindsets for risk mitigation. Covering corporate, celebrity, and dignitary realms, it offers valuable perspectives for novices and veterans alike.

This reference guide for security professionals explains self-defense tactics and discusses the legality of using them in various circumstances. The book discusses all aspects of legal defense tactics, including the psychological, physical, and practical aspects of training defensive tactics. The author is a martial arts/kung fu expert with over 40 years of experience in the business. Read this book to learn about:

  • How to engage in hand-to-hand combat situations
  • Defending against various weapons, even if you don’t have a weapon yourself
  • How to handle attacks from multiple people simultaneously and the last person left standing
  • How to improve your level of awareness with awareness training
  • Liability issues faced by protection specialists

The book contains illustrations and descriptions of various situations and explains how to handle them best.

Hire a Bodyguard or Executive Protection Specialist

Private investigators sometimes double as bodyguards due to their personal protection experience gained in the military or as former police officers

Many private detectives carry guns or other weapons and are generally very alert to their surroundings, which makes them natural for bodyguard services. Those with the most experience and knowledge usually get the job when protecting executives, politicians, or movie stars.

For private investigators or investigation agencies specializing in executive protection and bodyguard services, please visit our Private Investigation Directory to hire a bodyguard.

Additional Resources

The following websites provide specialized information on bodyguards, personal protection, and executive protection.

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