EPM GLOBAL - Executive Profile Management | Security solutions


In the realm of close protection, high proficiency is not a destination, but an ongoing journey marked by dedication to constant learning and the repetition of essential skills. As guardians of safety and security, close protection professionals should recognize that continuous improvement is not just a choice but a necessity to uphold the highest standards of protection and fulfil their duty to safeguard those under their care.


One of the factors making the career as a CPO unpredictable is the lack of clarity on the progression journey. While many are attracted to the profession for its prestige, travel opportunities, and competitive wages, those at the start of their careers often find it challenging to directly approach clients or access desirable tasks in the market. The Security Industry Authority has outlined necessary skills within their licensing framework, particularly in the fields of cash and valuables in transit, door supervision, public space surveillance, and security guarding, which are widely accepted as proof of skills alongside individual experience. However, in close protection, the factor behind winning contracts seems to require more, and this ‘more’ is not always articulated in an easy-to-define way. 


Many of the CPOs come from the military background, possessing hard-to-match skills. The typical CPO course would cover law and legislation, threat assessment and risk management, surveillance, venue security operations, operational planning, reconnaissance, foot drills, planning and selecting routes, vehicle movements, tactics and operations, search techniques and procedures, conflict management, land navigation as well as basic study of crime and its effects on society. Some of the better providers of the courses acknowledge the need for an extended skills training and often offer additional medical modules, topographical map reading, advanced surveillance, bug sweeping, counted and anti-surveillance. The differing emphasis on additional skills by various providers makes it challenging for young adepts to obtain relevant skills for the best career progression. 


What often makes the difference in how the best in the field are perceived are the complementary skills hardly ever listed on the operatives’ resumes. In close protection, it is primarily the personal relationship the operative can create with their clients. Trust and engagement are the best warranties for long-term contracts and personal recommendations. While personality match is not always trainable, there are skills that individuals can perfect. The most sought-after CPOs are those who not only provide the highest level of risk mitigation skills and quick, relevant response records but are also fully adaptable to their clients’ lifestyles. After all, a CPO’s role is to accompany their clients in both mundane daily life and official/professional engagements, requiring easy adaptation to various environments and geographical locations as well as participation in both usual and unusual activities. 


When considering complementary training, it is advisable to start with skills that can enhance an individual’s direct protection skills. While self-defence is a skill required from all CPOs, there are no guidelines on how proficient an individual should be in a specific type of martial art.

The integration of knowledge about the use of reasonable force, understanding relevant laws, proficiency in self-defense and combatives, as well as scenario-based training and exposure to force during training, provides significant benefits to close protection officers. Through comprehensive training programs, CPOs are equipped with the necessary skills and legal understanding to effectively protect their clients while operating within the bounds of the law. Scenario-based training allows CPOs to apply their knowledge in realistic situations, preparing them to make quicker decisions under pressure. Exposure to force during training helps CPOs develop resilience, adaptability, and confidence in their abilities to handle physical confrontations. Furthermore, by understanding the legal implications of their actions and being proficient in self-defense techniques, CPOs can effectively de-escalate situations and resolve conflicts without resorting to excessive force. Ultimately, this holistic approach to training ensures that CPOs are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of their roles and provide high level of protection to their clients while upholding legal and ethical standard


Another skill that CPOs often speak about is the Firearms handling. Great Britain is known for having one of the world’s toughest firearms controls, regulated by the Firearms Act 1968. UK Firearms licenses are issued by the local police force, but only some types of firearms, shotguns, and rifles may be licensed. Carrying firearms in public is strictly prohibited. So, why would a Close Protection Officer need to possess firearms skills? The simple answer is – these are not necessary. Even if deployed on tasks in countries with less strict firearms licensing, they would still not be allowed to carry them without a valid local firearms license. However, many CPOs regularly deployed in hostile environments might work with armed local security operators or, on rare occasions, find themselves under a firearm threat. Knowing how to handle a firearm could be a life-saving skill in extreme situations. Some countries in Europe offer certified, licensed premises and highly skilled trainers who provide weapon familiarisation trainings and teach the very basics of weapon handling. 


Many Close Protection Officers are highly skilled drivers and are often certified in defensive driving. Although many clients usually hire professional drivers, CPOs may find themselves in situations requiring them to drive clients, whether in densely populated urban areas or remote, hostile environments. There are professionally designed Close Protection Driving courses covering a range of skills and techniques, including route selection, planning, and journey management, vehicle security and search, mobile security, surveillance detection, embus and debus drills, contingency planning, and fundamentals of evasive driving. In addition to these courses, especially for CPOs required to work in remote areas, possessing 4-wheel and off-road driving skills. 


The best CPOs in the field are known for their one-stop-shop skills often assisting clients with requests not directly related to protection.  Especially UHNW individuals trust operators with vast networks of contacts who can accommodate seemingly impossible requests. CPOs often step in with last-minute resolutions to everyday issues, including managing travel agendas and entourage staffing issues. Great CPOs work closely with Personal Assistants, ensuring the smoothest execution of clients’ requests. 


In addition to concierge skills, fluency in more than one language is an unspoken advantage in the industry. Close Protection Officers travel extensively with their clients, frequently resolving ongoing issues in various geographical locations. Proficiency in English is a must, and many clients prefer CPOs fluent in their mother tongue. Those with additional knowledge of languages such as Arabic, French, or Spanish are valued.


Last, but not least, the skills that often make the individuals from security industry being the ones repeatedly engaged by the same organisations or UHNWI, are those who can easily adapt to the client’s lifestyle. Especially when it comes to work with Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, many of the close protection tasks are assigned for the client’s leisure time. Be it a family ski trip, country-side break with horse-riding activities, or tropical climate holidays with diving and days spent out at sea on yachts or motorboats. For the CPO to posses those additional skills would definitely help developing an long standing relationship with their clients and therefore – continuity of work. 


At EPM Global Ltd, we prioritize the selection and deployment of the right close protection officer for our clients, especially in 1-2-1 protection scenarios where intimate understanding and synchronization with the client’s activities are crucial. We recognize the importance of having officers who are not only highly trained in security protocols but also adept at following and participating in activities that our clients enjoy, such as horse riding, skiing etc.


This approach serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it demonstrates our commitment to providing comprehensive protection that seamlessly integrates with the client’s lifestyle. By having close protection officers who can actively engage in the client’s favourite activities, we not only enhance their security but also create a sense of camaraderie and trust. This synergy between protection and leisure activities fosters a deeper connection between the client and our team, strengthening the overall security posture.

Secondly, this level of involvement from our close protection officers creates a positive impression from the client’s perspective. Feeling understood and supported in their interests and hobbies contributes to a more harmonious working relationship. Clients are more likely to feel satisfied with our services and inclined to use EPM Global services again in the future.  

Ultimately, our approach to selecting and deploying close protection officers who can actively participate in clients’ activities goes beyond just ensuring physical security. It’s about building lasting relationships based on trust, understanding, and mutual respect. By aligning our protection services with the client’s lifestyle and preferences, we not only mitigate security risks effectively but also enhance the overall client experience, ensuring the longevity of our partnerships.