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I am an international security consultant. A licensed bodyguard. Publisher and author and the Managing Director of Concept Tactical Worldwide.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

American Heavy in London.

Another high profile celebrity event in West London. The main act being an American chart topping singer performing in aid of her charity. Supported by various musicians from both the United States and the United Kingdom. I headed the twenty man security detail on the night.

Business as usual? Not quite. As on this occasion the main act had brought along her own personal bodyguard and security manager. Relatively unusual as we typically provide the Personal Protection for the star.

Not a problem I think to myself - I have worked with my American counterparts on many occasions and have always found them to be highly professional and experienced operatives. I look forward to the pre-event operational meeting with her security manager.

Unfortunately alarm bells ring when I am told his name, which I won't mention here. Not because he has a bad reputation, yet, or anything. Or that I have ever heard of him before but because it is simply corny - the first part of his "name" being an adjective. Yes seriously.

Anyway I decide not to judge a book by its name and move on to the meeting. Indeed it was not love at first sight. His name matched his appearance. He was rude. He was brash - I think he may have thought that he in fact was his client. Even though his client was polite, softly spoken, feminine, talented and glamorous.

The cherry on top was his personalised, diamond studded ear piece which had his "adjective first part of his name" initials on it. Yes seriously.

Ah well. The personal protection industry has not quite completely evolved just yet - getting there though.

Within an hour of being on site the "adjective first part of his name" door blocker had started a full on swearing match with the London Paparazzi. I could already see the next day's headlines "Bodyguard loses it with London paparazzi". Without instruction one of my men stepped in and controlled the situation through intelligent dialogue. I now realised I was going to have to constantly monitor the situation and deploy manpower I was already short of to do the door blockers job for him.

By the end of the night "adjective first part of his name" had requested twelve of my men to create a human chain from the principals luxury tent to her car at a distance of no more than two and a half meters. This was to protect against an entire frightful army of five paparazzi who were left at the end of the event. Yes seriously.

My men stood in that "human chain" for over an hour. One of the paparazzi remarked "In all my time this is the most pathetic thing I have ever seen on the streets of London". It was embarrassing.

Now if there were forty or fifty paparazzi outside, which often happens in London, waiting to pounce on foot as well as in vehicle's and a hoard of excited and crazed fans, potentially much more dangerous than paparazzi - as sleazy as they may be, perhaps I would have understood this gratuitous and heavy handed use of man power. Alas there were just five photographers - four men and one woman, all of whom I know by face. Perhaps "adjective first part of his name" was aware of a secret group of Ninja- Python-Assassin-Paparazzi that were waiting to pounce. I had no intel on them and surely didn't see any.

I can only put "adjective first part of his name" approach to security down to paranoia. Paranoia and a lack of sophistication and training.

He also obviously has not read my work on Sophisticated Adaptability - a piece I wrote as a favour for a small in-house publication with limited readership. I shall post the work here so that it may reach a wider audience.

The point is that the correct and proper manner in which to provide personal protection to high profile celebrity clients is different all over the world.

However one thing remains the same on an international level. A celebrities bodyguard is an extension of their own brand. And if not managed carefully an oaf of a bodyguard will inevitably negatively affect the client.

I have no doubt that sooner or later the celebrity in question will be branded as a spoilt diva who demands more protection than the President of the United States and who allows her guards to beat on her fans and photographers.

I can guarantee you though that the client has no idea of the thuggish way in which her bodyguard behaves and would be shocked to find out.

Eventually he will damage her reputation and brand and endanger her safety. A real shame.

- In an unrelated incident involving a different bodyguard - Type in the words "bodyguard loses it" into Google and you will see that it is the name of the bodyguards rapper client that comes up first and that makes the headlines - not the name of the thug in the video.

Oh yes, let me not forget to mention the fact that we had two more ultra high profile Hollywood celebrities attend the event. They however had professional, highly trained, personal protection agents looking after them. They left the event without the slightest incident. We got them through a side door and into a waiting car. Nobody even knew they were there...

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