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. In some cases, team members may also 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
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, the 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. 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
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.
The following websites provide specialized information on bodyguards, personal protection, and executive protection.