Close Protection and the Law – A Guide for the UK Bodyguard

Liaising With Local Law Enforcement

It can be a necessary part of the close protection operative or teams responsibilities, to interact with law enforcement agencies, usually on a local level. There may be times when the principles schedule may result in a heightened risk situation and in certain cases may benefit from either a police presence, or at least their knowledge of the schedule. There could be many reasons for such a requirement and we shall list a few of the most obvious below.
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#1. The principal may be under threat from terrorist attack which may require additional security from law enforcement agencies, especially where the safety of the public may also be under threat.

#2. The principle may be a high profile celebrity whose presence at an engagement, whether public or initially private, may have the potential to disrupt such things as public services, or cause a major disturbance to residents or the public in general.

#3. Our principal although low threat, may be attending an event which is in attendance by a high threat level individual. Although our principle may not be under any direct threat himself, the very presence of the aforementioned individual will increase the level of protection required, and indeed it may be prudent to liaise with local law enforcement in an effort to gather further intel. This information might well be used to more effectively protect the principal, and could quite possibly have a direct bearing on both the level of protection we provide and the security procedures used.

#4. In any situation where an attempt has been made on the life of our principal, it may be necessary to arrest the guilty individual or individuals, and this will of course then require full cooperation with the police with regard to witness statements etc.

It should be noted at this point, that as close protection officers we posses exactly the same rights of arrest as any member of the general public. No more, no less.

UK Health & Safety and the CPO

The 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974 can have huge repercussions regarding any Close Protection operation in which we participate. The act requires that we pay due care and attention in the workplace regarding all aspects of our environment including our co-workers and the public.

Specific to close protection, it would for example make little sense to have our principal spend many thousands of pounds on a Resident Protection Team, only to have that team put his safety at risk due to an inadequate maintenance schedule on the property.

Data Protection in Close Protection

In our role as a close protection officer it is vital that we gather, collate and store information within the law dictated by the 1998 Data Protection Act. This act governs how long we can keep an individuals personal information, who we can show it to, and what we do with it when it is no longer required.

Obviously with the gathering of intel, part and parcel of CP work, it is vitally important, that from a legal standpoint that we adhere to the Data Protection Act in order to avoid potential problems further down the line.

Close Protection and The Human Rights Act

Not only must we consider the Data Protection Act when we carry out intelligence gathering, but we must also respect the right of the individual governed by the Human Rights Act of 1998.

It is imperative that we do not contravene an individual’s rights and freedoms in the course of our duties, otherwise there is the possibility that legal action will be brought to bear against us as a result.

Gary Gibson is an SIA licensed, close protection bodyguard and chief private investigator at his Leeds, UK detective agency, Pro1 Investigations.

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