Icon – 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.
Below is an excerpt of my interview with veteran Executive Protection Agent, Hans van Beuge Principal Partner of SAVIOR.
Agent Name: Hans van Beuge
Company Name: SAVIOR
Home city / Country: Australia
Contact info: (email/phone number) firstname.lastname@example.org int + 61 418 553 363
How long have you been in the Protection Industry?
My career began in 1970 as an 18year old. This was well before any licensing or training accreditation was necessary. I was recruited to work for a company that provided security for Rock venues and Festivals and quickly progressed to tour/personal security for various bands and artists.
Can you give our readers a little bit of your background?
I started doing security work to support myself as an aspiring athlete. I was a Shot Putter in the Australian Athletic Team. I was 6’6” and 240lb at 18 and about 265lb by the time I was 20. Back then most of the guys protecting entertainers were martial artists or former boxers or wrestlers. Muscle and physicality were seen as the only prerequisite at the time, however that’s definitely how I got my break into the industry.
Knowing how difficult it is to build a strong, long term base in EP work, what specific skills/traits make you marketable to potential clients?
I think it’s really necessary to determine which areas of Protection you are best suited for. In this profession you can work in the Government, Military, PSD, Corporate (from CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies to small business owners), or for Wealthy Individuals, Entertainers (encompassing actors, rock bands, individual singers, rappers, models etc) and professional athletes. Although the principles of protection remain the same, the perspectives vary enormously depending in which field you work. Very few guys can transition successfully between all areas.
With the killing of John Lennon in 1980, the Hinckley/Reagan/Foster incident in early ’81 and a host of other high profile attacks on celelebrities around then , I came to the conclusion that the greatest hazard to entertainers was going to be coming from those mentally disordered individuals who for whatever demented reason seek connection with the famous.
I started to study psychology and read and researched as much material as available to understand the mind set of the types of offenders who pose a risk to my clients. I did as many courses as possible and started to interface with clinical psychiatrists and psychologists to workshop ideas and share my on the ground experiences with their more often textbook experience.
Behavioral prediction became a greater and greater aspect of the services I provided and eventually I started to market myself as a “Violence Consultant” rather than a “Bodyguard” to reflect this shift in focus. I also found it a rather untapped area for offering advice as it was in an area that Law Enforcement had no expertise in and the Mental Health authorities had little interest in.
I know that you have some pretty extensive experience dealing with the paparazzi as it relates to celebrity clients. What do you think are some effective ways to deal with aggressive photographers?
Well, no security or safety program designed for a client is complete unless you have a plan to counter or minimize the invasive/aggressive/illegal intrusions of the tabloid media. My advice: Understand what each particular client’s attitude is towards the paparazzi. Some are nonchalant about them; others want their privacy protected at all costs and most have a love/hate relationship. No matter what their opinion of the paparazzi, I’ve never yet met a client who didn’t want to be advised of the presence/position of paparazzi before a photo was taken.
To someone coming up after you in the industry, what advice would you give?
To strive for professionalism in their work. We see so many people in this industry who lack any vestige of professional demeanor or behavior. Conduct yourself in a professional manner, be well presented and attired, be dignified and be knowledgeable about as many areas of security as possible. Your Clients are going to look to you for answers to all kinds of security issues. Remember that we are in a service industry. Treat your client as the boss, you are there to support them, they are not there to enhance your career.