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Close Protection Officer

The work

Bodyguards, now commonly known as Personal Protection or Close Protection Officers (CPOs), protect individuals or groups from risk of violence or kidnapping, or any situation deemed harmful to the client. They work with a wide range of people including Heads of State; politicians; celebrities from the world of film, music and television; sports personalities; and heads of industry. They need to work discreetly whilst offering full cover.

The work includes protecting the client from threats of physical violence; checking out premises before the client arrives; accompanying the client on business and social visits; and driving the client to and from venues. Threats to clients could come from a range of sources including terrorist organisations, political opponents, stalkers or over-enthusiastic fans.

Some will specialise in residential security, ensuring the client's premises are secure. Others may train to be chauffeurs specialising in defensive and evasive driving. The aim is to spot a potential threat or disruption before it happens, so pre-operational planning and research are essential.

Although much of a CPO's time can involve periods of inactivity, they must be in a constant state of readiness to react if a threatening situation develops.

Skills and Interests

To be a Close Protection Officer you should:

be physically fit, with good eyesight and hearing
have quick reactions
be able to work as member of a team, but also to have confidence to act on your own initiative
have good powers of observation and be able to recognise potentially dangerous situations
have discretion and be committed to client confidentiality
be able to remain calm under pressure, and to adapt and improvise as required in response to situations
have good interpersonal skills
have decision-making and planning skills
have good written and verbal communication skills.


Minimum age for entry is 18. Most CPOs come from a background in the Armed Forces, police, prison services or martial arts, although this is not essential. CPOs need to be physically fit, presentable and possess the required personal qualities. A full driving licence is necessary.

There are no specific academic requirements. Knowledge of a foreign language may be useful. Literacy and numeracy skills are needed for planning and report writing.


Leadership Development Center - Technology House - University of Salford - Lissadel St - Salford - Manchester - M6 6AP

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