Tag Archives: Executive Protection

5 International Travel Tips for Bodyguards



Travel plays a big part in the duties of the Executive Protection Agent, and those that make a career out of the profession quickly earn the title of “Road Warrior” –-Bags packed, will travel.   Taking that travel international adds a whole new dimension to protecting the client, so here are a few helpful things to keep in mind.

Make yourself familiar with the travel advisories. –   The US State Department is an excellent resource as is the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).  Also read international newspapers, you may find that news developments vital to the area that you will be in are reported differently outside the United States.

Remember what’s lawful in the US could get you into some serious hot water in another country.  – Make sure you particularly remember this one as it relates to the possession and use of firearms and other weapons.  This should also extend to your client, as even some over the counter medicines are prohibited in some countries.

Keep in mind you are in someone else’s playground.  – Use local resources when possible to aid your journey.  Think about it, who knows an area better than a person that lives there?   At a minimum, try not to come in with a holier-than-thou attitude and piss off the other security/law enforcement teams you may encounter.  Allies are better than adversaries, and that is never truer than when operating in a foreign land.

Plan for delays. –  While there is a universal constant of 24 yours in a day, time can sometimes move different depending on what part of the world you are in.  Just ask anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time in Mexico, Nigeria or India, things just take longer, so work that into your logistics.

Keep cultural nuances in mind to avoid embarrassment. –  Making yourself familiar with the customs and traditions of a foreign country outside of just the security concerns could pay benefits in the long run.  Don’t let a slip of the tongue or a wrong hand gesture draw attention to you or your client.  Bodyguard Blog did a whole article on just this topic, find it HERE.



Bodyguard Fights to Stay in US

Ran across an very interesting  article regarding Nikolaos Skokos, the bodyguard to international singer Celine Dion and his battle against the US Department of Homeland Security to obtain a  permanent Visa.   Mr. Skokos, a Canadian resident is petitioning to stay in America under a little known immigration policy that that allows “aliens of extraordinary ability” — whether they are scientists, artists, athletes or in this case Executive Protection Agents — to become permanent residents.  the challenge is that Mr. Skokos has had to prove that “extraordinary ability” to the US Government.


For the full story, click HERE.

Industry Spotlight: Close Protection Specialist Shaun West

Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride.   No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

Agent Name: Shaun West

Home city: Newcastle, UK

Area of Specialty: Close Protection

Website:     www.shaunwest.co.uk

How did you get into the close protection industry?

I am a former member of the Parachute Regiment, I loved my time in the forces and met some really great people and had some great life experiences but it came to the point where I had to make the choice if I wanted to stay in the Forces and commit to the full term or to move into another direction.  The Close Protection industry was just starting to pickup and I saw the opportunity for another exciting and rewarding career.

While we have an international readership, I know a great number are from the United States.  What do you feel are the differences in working protection in the US versus the UK?

The principles of providing protection remain the same no matter where you are in the world but the way in which the service is delivered has to be different when working across different environments due to the level of threat faced.

One obvious difference in how our roles are carried out between the UK and US is the ability to carry firearms within the US where it is not possible in the UK.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is pretty polarizing to UK Operators.  Do you have an opinion on the organization?

I think regulating the UK Security Industry was a fantastic idea by the government but I think the initial implementation was pretty poor.  The teething problems that come with the launching of an organization such as the Security Industry Authority was inevitable but I certainly think that over time things have certainly improved but we now have the uncertainty of what is going to happen with the SIA after recent government announcements reference change.

Hopefully there are only positive days ahead for the UK Security Industry.

I know you have spent a lot of time working in Underdeveloped countries.  Assuming the risks are higher there, what do you attribute to your success as an Operator?

I feel privileged to have gained experience in many different countries from working in underdeveloped and higher risk regions to some of the most fantastic sort after locations in the world.  My success as an operator has been achieved by not being afraid of hard work and continually striving to better myself at all times.  Personal development is also very important and something you must continue to pursue if you are looking for a long-term and successful career within the security industry.

What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions of the industry?

Looking from a UK perspective there is definitely a misconception about the amount of work that is available out there and I think at the ground level a lot of guys/girls are mis-sold when trying to break into the CP sector.  The UK is currently saturated with operators and the pool of guys/girls on the ground is only getting bigger which means the opportunity’s are less.  Many find it disappointing when they complete their course and can’t find employment, this is extremely disheartening for the new guys entering the industry.  However in today’s world opportunities will always arise within the industry you just have to be bold enough to go and grab them when they arise.

To those coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?

Remain humble, work hard, learn from every task you carry out by analyzing how you could do better next time and finally Network, Network, Network!

Executive Protection Training Calendar

Celebrity & VIP Protection Course :  (5 Days) January 5 – 9, 2011

a five-day course of practical theory and hands-on training in the world of Celebrity & VIP Protection.Taught by industry veteran Elijah Shaw, who in addition to his corporate clients, has traveled the world as the personal bodyguard of international public figures such as musical giant Usher, supermodel Naomi Campbell, and rap megastar 50 Cent.

Advanced Pistol Course:  (2-3 Days) February 11 – 13, 2011

Taught by our highly qualified instructors, this two day course is open to the public and will prove a dynamic experience into the world of offensive/defensive shooting using a combination of classroom, drills and extended live fire exercises.  In addition, an optional 3rd day is offered to members of the Executive Protection Community with specific training geared for the Close Protection industry.

Advanced Executive Protection Course:  (10 Days) March 4 – 13, 2011

This intensive 10-day class is an excellent tool for Operators sharpening their skills with a focus on conducting close protection assignments with a potential high threat level. Work with experienced professionals who are not teaching “theory” put practical applications developed from many years of doing the job.  Lead by Instructor Dave Marris who has spent over 15 years in private security working in a number of high-risk environments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Southeast Asia, South and Central America.

Surveillance Detection Course:  (5 Days) April 6 – 10, 2011

Icon Services Corporation together with Israeli-Based Multi Tier Solutions Ltd. are proud to present a unique course focusing on detecting stalkers, potential kidnappers & pre-attack surveillance. This course greatly benefits those in the corporate and low enforcement sectors with special emphasis placed on detecting terrorist activities.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the above courses, click on the links or send and email to Training@Industry-Icon.com.  We can also put you in contact with previous Alumni to talk about their past experiences.

Aegis PI Reviews ICON Celebrity Protection Training

The good folks over at Aegis PI recently posted an on-line review of the ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course.  The September course just wrapped, and one of their principal owners was in attendance for the 5 day course held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Click HERE to read the review.


Just completed the September 5-day ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course!  Thank you to the 24 students that crossed the finish-line and gave their time, attention and hard earned dollars to attend.  It was great to have the attendees from various backgrounds, ages, colors & genders, meet in an environment that leveled the playing field.   One of the major phrases I returned to time and again during the course is that “it’s a thinking person’s game“.   You did not have to be the biggest or strongest or best shooter to gain the skills to make your mark on the Executive Protection Industry.

Next course, January 5 – 9th, 2011

Training Day Countdown

Tomorrow begins the next ICON Celebrity & VIP Protection Course and we’re all very proud to say we once   again have a sold out class.   Looking forward to the dynamic mix of seasoned professionals polishing their skills and newcomers just getting started in the industry.

Also very excited to have Dave Marris on board as a Guest Instructor this course.   In the close protection arena his background is one who’s “been there, done that”,  so we’re especially glad to have an active Operator take the time to help out.

Pretty certain the only sleep I get for the next 5 days will occur around the same time the paperboy is making deliveries, and end before he’s done.

Safar Interviews Hans Van Beuge

Safar Protection Consultants does a great interview with Hans Van Beuge.  For those of you that don’t know Hans, he’s the owner of S.A.V.I.O.R  Services out of Australia, and in my mind a proven authority on the subject of identifying and dealing with stalkers and paparazzi.

In short, Hans is one of the good guys.

Read the interview HERE.

See Related: Industry Spotlight: EP Agent Hans van Beuge

A Must Have for Executive Protection

From the archives:

When you think of outfitting yourself for a career as a Bodyguard what’s on your essential must-have list for Executive Protection?

  • Semi-Automatic Handgun? (With appropriate license to carry)
  • Bulletproof Vest?
  • How about one of those cool–talk into your hand–microphones?

It’s true, at some point and time there is probably a place for all of that.  However, one of the biggest assets to someone doing this line of work for any length of time is something so obvious it really gets overlooked:


Yep, a good, COMFORTABLE, pair of shoes will make a world of difference for the bodyguard.  Just ask any agent who’s worked a detail where he has to stand for 12 hours plus, or walked 3 miles on an overseas sight-seeing trip with a VIP (on unpaved roads!) Speaking from experience, I’ll tell you; wear the wrong shoes and the unpleasantness factor goes up dramatically.

On this date:  no vest, no 2way radio… however comfortable shoes made a long day a little easier.