When I first left the military, like most of us do I found my feet in the Close Protection (CP) World having completed various courses to get my qualifications. I then cut my teeth in Close Protection Hostile Environment World. Years later when I returned to the UK and started looking for CP work within the UK, I noticed although I had the skill sets, I had to adapt to a variety of different things, for example, the hours within the UK for UHNW clients are much longer and can range from 12 to 16 and sometimes even 18 hour days. Dress and appearance can vary from client to client and beards and tattoos are almost never acceptable unlike in hostile environments.
So while I was looking for work and developing my network, I did what some lads refuse to do, I started working the doors of nightclubs and doing red-carpet events. In my mind I did this for a few reasons.
- I wanted to develop a network within nightclubs of London and my home area.
- I wanted to see and learn how that side of the business works, my thinking being “how can you consult on venue security or take your clients to events or clubs if you have no idea how that side of the industry works”.
In undertaking this endeavour I developed a great network of good men and women who were also working their way into the industry. I was taken under wing by some very experienced doormen, guys that have watched the industry change and grow for the better or worse over the years. I was able to learn from their experiences and a third lesson was learned; maybe the most important one.
Lesson three and the most important that all close protection operators should learn, conflict management and situational awareness. Although I had already developed these skills, I have to say these skills were seriously honed and fine-tuned working the doors.
It was not long before I was having to break up fights or have to deal with drunk clients and use conflict resolution. Leaning access control, how to search people and read large crowds of people that started their night looking for a good time and then becoming slowly more rowdy and violent as the night wore on.
Other lessons like how difficult it can be to restrain someone that wants to harm a 3rd party, myself, a team-mate or client was also a new dynamic to deal with. Let’s face it a fight always takes more than one person. So dealing with large numbers of drunken hostiles can be a challenge. With all this going on not only do you have to look after yourself and your team but the reputation of the club using the minimum force.
All these lessons I feel have been of absolute value to me and my growth as a security consultant as well as a Close Protection Operator (CPO).
If you have done your job properly as a CPO you should never have to use physical intervention, but there are rare occasions when you will. It’s a skill that is valuable to all operators out there.