Wednesday, 21 October 2020

From CPO to Chauffeur

 The close protection industry is having a tough time of it right now and as a result considerable numbers of SIA licence holders are looking to jump ship and enter the world of chauffeuring. 


Sounds great in theory, but Alex Davis takes a closer look and advises the jumpers to do their homework first.

“It would genuinely be interesting to know the number of close protection licence holders who’ve never actually used their badge of honour on task, although it must be a significant percentage.

The industry is indeed saturated, but a lot of individuals are still willing to do CP courses in the hope they’ll be one of the lucky few that ends up on a team, temporarily or otherwise. This lack of opportunity is understandably frustrating so it’s perhaps no surprise many are choosing to take a closer look at the chauffeur industry.

Whilst there are of course parallels between the two jobs, don’t think for a minute having a CP licence gives you right of passage into the world of professional driving, especially if you’re looking for security chauffeur work. There seems to be a bit of a misconception lately that a driving licence in one pocket and a CP badge in the other gives you all the credentials required to enter the chauffeur industry and start driving a high-end clientele from day one. That easy it ain’t!

Let’s take a look at the reality of the chauffeur industry to start with. Security chauffeur or protection driver roles are probably as rare as genuine close protection positions and very few clients will specifically request a security-trained driver, so don’t expect opportunities to fall at your feet.

There are thousands of SIA licensed guys looking to the chauffeur industry for openings, so don’t think for a second that a CP qualification will make a huge difference in most cases because all you’re doing in reality is leaving one queue to join another. Of course, there are chauffeur positions advertised where a CP licence is desirable but there will be many other requisite requirements along with it so in the great scheme of things it’s no advantage whatsoever on its own and its up to the individual to build on that bit of plastic to make themselves more employable.

Ask yourself whether you’re looking to enter the chauffeur industry for the right reasons because if you’re simply viewing it as the second best option when there’s no CP work available, you are doing our profession a disservice and you are almost certainly unsuitable.

If, on the other hand, you’re a professionally-minded individual who wants to build on an existing security-based skill set to earn a living as a chauffeur and ‘transfer across’ with your eyes very widely open, then you might well find it an extremely rewarding career.

It doesn’t matter if you were in the military or not, what cap badge you wore or how good a driver you think you are, a surprisingly small number of people have the necessary personality traits and practical attributes to make it as a stand-out chauffeur.

The big chauffeur firms are full of ‘drivers’, steering wheel jockeys who do what’s required of them and can offer no more. What’s needed in reality are those individuals who have the interpersonal skills and level of intelligence to be able make dynamic assessments of each separate client and adapt their behaviour accordingly.

They will need to be able to communicate on any level and hold their own in conversations covering a multitude of subjects. They will understand and be sympathetic to any number of differing nationalities, cultures and religions. They will know the best routes, the ‘in’ restaurants, and on which floor you’ll find what products in the major stores. Seeing it as ‘just driving’ is both na├»ve and insulting in the extreme.

Its very difficult to emphasise just how important you are as an individual in a chauffeuring context, it is you and the client in the confines of a car. There are thousands of CP licence holders, but only a small minority would ever have both the personal and professional skills to work one on one with a client successfully-that is how it is as a chauffeur all the time.

A few years ago a chauffeur with a close protection licence was a rarity but that’s not the case anymore. These days, good security chauffeurs will also have an advanced driving qualification, a specific protection driver course and advanced first aid under their belts. On top of that, they will have considerable experience with a varied clientele and intimate knowledge of Central London, (because that’s where the vast majority of work is).

There is of course a much higher possibility of getting a more mainstream chauffeur position if you’re willing to lower your expectations regarding the security aspect and this is definitely worth thinking about because experience is vital and we all need to earn a crust. There’s also an important point here to make here, although clients don’t often ask for a security-trained chauffeur, once they find out a driver has a CP licence or advanced driving qualification I can assure you they find it extremely comforting and they will definitely look at you in a totally different light. It’s these kinds of things, along with that all important personality, that gets you noticed, requested a second time by a principal and moved up the ladder. Don’t underestimate that.

I can totally understand why SIA licensed guys are looking to move into the chauffeur industry, after all there are huge amounts of chauffeurs who are making a living without any professional qualifications whatsoever. That’s fine, but rewards do come to those who invest in themselves and who are willing to appreciate that being a chauffeur is indeed a skill in itself.

For those who go out of their way to find out exactly what’s required, rather than thinking they can jump straight in, an incredibly varied and often fascinating job awaits.”

What makes a good CPO ?

 I can honestly say I’ve experienced the good, the bad and certainly the ugly sides of the industry, in various corners of the world with personnel of virtually every background. Even with the best experience and training, it always comes down to the individual and how they approach their Principal (the VIP), the client (the company which has engaged you), the task, their team mates and, importantly, themselves.

These provisions are always a challenging balancing act. How they are initially approached and engaged can make all the difference between how easy, or not, the task will run. The threat can sometimes be the easiest part to manage. Managing the Principal and the client, less so. In my experience, 90% of Principals have never had a provision before and their only understanding is from what they’ve seen on TV or in the movies. There are also those who’ve had prior experience, and perhaps not a good one and you inherit their bad experiences and negative preconceptions. Remember, they’re entrusting their (or their family’s) safety to someone they’ve never met before. Getting it right from the get-go is essential.

What are the basics for any CPO?

First impressions are important. Time-keeping (never be on time, always be early).

Always come to the task well-dressed (you can always dress-down, never up), dress conservatively, no jewellery (chains, earrings), good hygiene (not unshaven or too much cologne).

Always carry your passport and driving licence (rapid response is standard).

Discretion and confidentiality (never name your past clients).

Keep physically fit (train hard, fight easy).

Work hard on your ‘soft’ skills (‘hard’ skills are easy, ‘soft’ aren’t).

Always call your Principal and Client ‘Boss’, ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ (until they tell you differently).

Remember, you could be doing everything right, but your face doesn’t fit. Don’t take it personally. I recall one occasion where a Principal dismissed seven extremely qualified CPO's before settling with the one they felt the most comfortable with. Another key thing to also always remember; if you ever have a serious disagreement with your Principal, client or team mates, either suck it up or walk away quietly and professionally. Never burn bridges. This is a very small industry and word moves far, wide and very quickly. Lastly, never forget your chain of command; principal, client, and company which has engaged you. This system is there to not only help but also protect you. And never ever give your personal business card to the Principal or client. The CPO who forgets these points will likely find their phone going very quiet.

What are the key components to delivering CP?

Well, whether you’re in hostile environs (like Iraq or Afghanistan), covering a businessman or even a red carpet event with some Hollywood-type, close protection is always a balancing act between keeping the Principal safe, first and foremost, and providing what can only be best described as facilitation.

The first part is often the easiest part. The facilitation is the tricky but very integral part. Accepting that we are as much ‘facilitators’ as we are ‘protectors’ is absolutely critical. If you don’t agree and don’t want to do this – good luck! Experience will prove otherwise. None of us want to do this, but as I’ve said, it’s a balancing act and never agreeing to carry bags, run errands or lend a hand, within reason, can easily and very quickly see you out of your job. There are times, however, when you can and must decline, which I will come to a little later.

The ‘modern’ CPO also has to be an incredibly versatile and intuitive person. Principals can be arrogant, impolite, obfuscatory and sometimes even dangerous (to themselves). You, as the CPO, can’t be. Thankfully, most Principals I’ve worked with have been a pleasure, but I’ve also had my fair share of tricky ones. Frequently the hardest part can be their assistants and support staff. They often don’t want (or believe they need) our presence. Assistants can believe they are as ‘important’ as their Principal and should be treated as such. This we have to accept. If their behaviour or requests actually increase the threat to the Principal, be prepared, you might need to consider withdrawing from the job (always politely and professionally).

Remember, if a threat materialises and you can’t protect your Principal because an assistant has had you run an errand, who will be to blame?

I recall an occasion where a Principal was debussing into a venue. The assistant screamed at the CPO to help with bags. If the Principal had been attacked and the CPO couldn’t easily obtain his weapon due to carrying a bag, it wouldn’t have ended well. Equally, be careful of what errands you run. As mentioned earlier, these can be perfectly innocent mundane tasks and very difficult to decline. However, be aware there is always a risk you could find yourself, quite innocently, in a wrong place –wrong time situation. As I said at the beginning of this article, being a CPO is a complex tasking that exposes us to a wide diversity of risks; many known and some that might not appear that obvious.

So what of the ‘job’ itself?

I’ve seen a significant increase in clients reverting to a more Reactive Observation Protection or Reactive Counter Surveillance level of protection that is more stood-off, less intrusive but with the ability to close in, when needed. Of course if you’re in the hostile environs or the threat is very high, your reaction distance is critical and this would not be feasible. However, unless this is the case, most Principals are less likely these days to accept you brushing shoulders with them. But this of course creates new issues. First being the ability to control a larger section of the vital ground (the immediate space within which the Principal is located or moving). To provide this level of protection the CPOs need to have the suitable skills, experience and confidence to detect the threat and associated indicators from this more distanced position. Meaning advanced levels of counter and anti-surveillance are an essential and critical skill in any CPO’s ‘toolbox’. Which brings me to my last point (although I could probably think of a hundred more); the most important point, in my opinion, is that we should always have an eagerness and willingness to learn.

Whether you’re a CPO, a company providing them or a client who engages them, we all (myself included) can always learn more and must remind ourselves we need to evolve as much as the threats do. The key objective is in keeping ahead of the threats and the more we learn the better an advantage we’ll have in doing so.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Door Supervisors Warrington

Let Spartan 24 Hour Security Door Supervisors be the ‘FACE’ of your venue. Their appearance, attitude and professionalism will set the tone for your clients, guests and other members of staff; be it night club, bar, restaurant, corporate function or any other high or low profile event.

​Our Door Supervisors will professionally and diligently fulfil their principal role of controlling access and egress according to your defined needs. Spartan 24 Hour Security Door Supervisors will also interact with your clients and staff to build appropriate relationships by offering help, assistance, advice and directions as necessary. This may be directly venue related such as dress code, opening hours or emergency procedures.

Our Door Supervisors are subject to rigorous background checks, our system complies with British Industry Standards (BIS), and each Door Supervisor is individually SIA licensed by the Security Industry Authority and the company holds appropriate Liability insurance.

​Spartan 24 Hour Security is a mere call away for SIA Door Supervisors. With a full trained team offering the best supervision at rates we believe you will find hard to beat, our SIA Licensed Door Supervisors are of the highest calibre and expertise to ensure your venue and event remain safe and secure. We pride ourselves on building an unparalleled reputation for delivering a service to the highest professional standard. Our team are trained exclusively to SIA standards and licensed accordingly with continual training (venue and industry specific) to assure our clients of our Door Supervisors knowledge, understanding and legal requirements. No matter the size of your venue/event we can supply the supervision you require.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Warrington Security Guards

Warrington Security Guards

The most effective type of security provision. A highly visible, highly trained security professional present at your property. Whether it be over night or twenty-four hours a day, in a gate house or on foot patrol there is no better deterrent.

We can supply high quality Security Guards to your site at a very competitive cost. Each of our Guards is experienced in gate house duties including the control and logging of vehicle and load movements, the processing of visitors and contractors onto and off of site.

All security guards hold a current Security Industry Authority license and will be in full uniform while on duty. All guards will be fully trained in your individual requirements and will receive ongoing training to ensure that they deliver the best possible service and fully compliment the requirement for your site.

Our lone working procedure ensures rapid deployment of extra officers to your site should the need arise strengthening the protection offered to your site.

Spartan 24 Hour Security has truly developed an impressive reputation for providing an exceptional service in manned guarding services.

At Spartan 24 Hour Security we think of ourselves as a close team and we strive to achieve excellence in our service provision through a collective effort and a willingness to share expertise – everyone’s contribution is valued. Throughout the company there is an underlying sense of pride in who we are and what we are accomplishing.

Working with an impressive and expanding list of blue chip clients in a wide range of business sectors the company now has staff deployed across Cheshire and the surrounding areas. Our aim is to continue developing within the manned guarding sector concentrating on the following specific areas:

  • Property Management Companies – guarding shopping centres and office complexes
  • Logistic / Distribution Companies
  • Corporate Organisations – undertaking concierge, front of house, guarding and building management roles
  • Facilities Management Companies
  • Manufacturing Sector
  • Public Sector – NHS and Local Government contracts

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Event Security

Spartan 24 Hour Security provide professional Event Security Services which is tailored to your requirements. 
Security Staff are fully insured and vetted, are hand picked and have a vast amount of security experience at all levels and are professional SIA licenced Security Guards and Door Supervisors
Our professional Event Security Staff works alongside your hospitality teams to provide a safe environment for your visitors, staff, performers, and the general public. 
We can provide door supervisors, security guards, and event stewards for private functions, shows, and events of all kinds, from sporting occasions to music festivals, funerals and weddings. Our involvement will ensure your event runs smoothly and everyone goes home happy.
We supply a discreet and hospitality focused team to represent your brand and core values, providing an exemplary service to your customers.

Security Guards Warrington - Security Guards Manchester - Door Supervisors

Door Supervisors North West

Our highly professional SIA licenced North West Door Supervisors are fully insured, screened and vetted.  Have a calm positive attitude and are flexible when it comes to dealing with different situations. Customer focused and make sure your customers have an enjoyable experience. They are reliable and are always on duty when required. Have a great deal of common sense and are hand picked, mature and highly experienced individuals. 

All our Door Staff are well groomed, well turned out, with excellent written and verbal communication skills. First aid trained and have attended a three day first aid at work course which is HSE approved and certified. 

Hiring our good quality Door Supervisors to look after a venue makes the customer experience more enjoyable, gives the venue a good reputation which in turn attracts new customers. 

We at Spartan Security look for quality when taking on new Door Staff. We are a second to none Door Supervisor company used on a regular basis by customers we have had for many years, who require the very best door supervisor service possible at all times. 
Hiring good quality Door Staff to look after your venue or event is one of the most important factors in keeping and attracting new customers. Our male and female Door Supervisors are highly trained, experienced professionals. 

Door Supervisors Manchester

We are highly regarded by Police Forces, Local Authorities, and the Security Industry Authority for working towards reducing crime and disorder in and around licensed premises. We continuously endeavour to meet the ever changing requirements and needs of our clients, offer competitive rates and have extensive resources to guarantee your requirements are fulfilled.

Spartan 24 Hour Security endeavours to employ both male and female Door Supervisors with previous industry experience to ensure the venue or location they are deployed to is under safe supervision.
Spartan Security are quality providers of licensed door supervisors, offering security services to all areas of the licensed industry from small bars, pubs and restaurants to clubs and larger entertainment venues.

The leisure industry is a particularly unpredictable business, requiring constantly changing attitudes and approaches to many different situations. We frequently supply door supervisors to leisure and entertainment venues in Manchester and many other areas the North West of England.

Fully Trained Manchester Door Supervisors

Here at Spartan 24 Hour Security, our highly trained, licensed Door Supervisors are ready to adapt to any given situation at any given time. All our staff are trained to resolve situations in a non-confrontational manner, wherever possible, but they will not tolerate and are committed to prevent any manifestation of intimidation, aggression, violence or bigotry at our clients venues.

From CPO to Chauffeur

 The close protection industry is having a tough time of it right now and as a result considerable numbers of SIA licence holders are lookin...