This is strictly a set of guidelines, with an advisory purpose and represents voluntarily provided advice, based on personal experience. This content does not represent a certified or a complete rule of checks which come before a commitment agreement. The information presented contain personal, subjective opinions, subject to omissions or misunderstandings of specific terms.
These guidelines are intended both for those that we shall generically call Clients, Beneficiaries or Consumers of such services, as well as professionals who provide such services.
The first and most important piece of advice for Clients who decide to contract the services of a professional bodyguard is to ignore everything they have seen and remembered from JB movies (James Bond or Jason Bourne).
Understanding the fact that personal security is a professional service maintains your expectations at a realistic level.
Following these guidelines, you will be provided with a way of making sure that you know how to find a person who is truly qualified to protect the life, safety and well-being of a certain person. One thing you should be aware of is that, in Romania, the name of the job is “bodyguard agent” but it reality encompasses a wide array of subsegments and different job descriptions depending on the Client’s quality and needs!
In today’s Romania, this profession is performed as services offered by specialized security and protection companies and it has not yet become a freelancer job, such as one of private investigators or physical security risk assessors, although in different ways, the laws allow legal entities called Units to create their own security system…
Consequently, before going one step further, go online a bit and download the following documents in order to gain a certain understanding of the legal framework of the things we are discussing:
– Law 333 / 2003
– GR 301 / 11.04.2012
– The legal regime of weapons and ammunition is regulated by law no. 295/2004 regarding the legal regime of weapons and ammunition, republished (published in the Romanian Official Gazette no. 425 of June 10th, 2014) and by the GR no. 130/2005 for the approval of the Methodological Norms for applying the Law no. 295/2004 (published in the Romanian Official Gazette no. 241 of March 23rd 2005), with further amendments and completions by the GR 1914/2006 for approval of the Methodological Norms for the application of Chapter. VI of the Law no. 295/2004 regarding the legal regime of weapons and ammunition (published in the Official Gazette no 1050 of December 29th 2006) and by the G.O. no.26/2008 for amending and completing the Law no. 295/2004 (published in the Romanian Official Gazette no. 628 of August 29th 2008).
Further on, we shall discuss about some information that you won’t find in any law or handbook published in our country!
Based on the name “Personal Protection Services”, personal protection comprises, as we mentioned, a few specialties concentrated/ addressing the particular features & needs of the type of protected person/ Client.
Using the methods that I shall place at your disposal, you will realize that it won’t be so difficult to find a professional to meet your needs.
There are specialists trained to protect individuals holding executive positions in a company/ corporation/ politicians, dignitaries and wealthy families, even beyond the services rendered by various public units.
Those qualified to provide these services in private are used to act less visibly, are able to adapt to any environment, to be least noticeable and as much as possible not to disturb your private life!
Apart from the United Kingdom, the rest of the European countries do not have standards imposed by a civil professional Authority in this area and the job itself is found described as: Close Protection, Executive Protection, Personal Protection, Protection Services, People Protection, Personal Security, or Bodyguard.
Like the employees working in this area in the public system, professional civil operators who activate in the private area are proactive, intelligent, educated, and firstly trained to prevent and only in special cases to intervene, in order to maintain your safety and integrity, unlike the massive and imposing bodyguards you see on TV accompanying celebrities.
The latter are trained only to react to provocations or, in the worst case, to witness what happens.
These being said, you should not be under the impression that all people who come to the interview holding a “security agent, bodyguard” certificate and who look well are also trained to do this job!
Most schools offering this qualification in Romania do not ask for higher standards from students than the legally imposed ones, which means that you cannot count on their training offered in exchange for the amount of EUR 100.
Irrespective of the school which trained your candidate, make sure that his certificate includes the name of the trainers or try to find them out, then check these trainers’ background and fame.
Also, just because someone has worked for the SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service), SPP (Protection and Guard Service), in the army or in peacekeeping missions, as a VIP escort or companion or accompanying motorcades, this does not mandatorily mean that the person is psychologically fit or trained, or that he has the necessary qualities to work as a security operator for personal protection, for a private person, considering the conditions in Romania.
However, in case such background is presented, which is very well to be considered, ask the person to detail the role he had in these structures.
If he tells you that his role is classified information and that he cannot speak about it, this means he is lying, and it is possible that he did not hold any operative position in that system.
What is truly classified are the missions he took part in and not the position/ role he was hired for.
Ask for a copy of the candidate’s ID, driver’s license, professional certificates and documents proving educational background, then a proof of his criminal record and with these documents proceed to check his background or hire someone to do it (consultant, private investigator).
The next step is to organize a private interview with the ones on the short list after the preliminary checks, but not before asking each of them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (Professional secrecy agreement) regarding your personal information / data.
During the interview check the following:
# Specific experience in personal protection;
# Ask questions about how they could prove their experience by asking verbal details and ask for answers about:
– how they will behave around you;
– the distance they will keep depending on the situation;
– how they will deal with preparing the missions/ trips/ meetings;
– what their position would be during car drives or walks;
– the relationship with your driver (if the case);
– what are the measures to prevent and counteract an assault/ a threat to your integrity or your image;
– their knowledge about physical security and the security or access control systems;
– their training in preventive or evasive driving techniques;
– their training and equipment used for close protection (martial arts techniques, crowd control tactics, etc);
– their knowledge about the legislation regulating their activity;
– their first aid knowledge;
# Don’t impose an age limit. This criterion is not a plus, if he is physically fit to:
– breathe normally after accompanying you during your morning jog;
– face your mountain ascent or you favourite sports where he must accompany you closely in order to secure presence near the Client within a proximity range needed for securing direct protection;
# Ask him about “important names”, “famous names” of people whom he protected before you. If he provides such a list, in most cases, his relationship with former Clients can be checked by contacting the company they worked for, the office of the governmental institution or the personal assistant of the respective VIP.
# Attention! If a candidate starts to disclose personal information about former Client, it is possible that this this violates the non-disclosure agreement he has signed with those people!
# At the same time, you should not be too lenient on answers such as: “I cannot provide information about the identity of my former Clients due to confidentiality reasons.”
A good professional will be careful with the data disclosed about former clients/ protected individuals but will always find the right approach to always offer some possibility to check certain data about the former clients, without breaching the undertaken confidentiality terms.
# generally, try to probe for the following traits/ qualities in your candidates:
Confidentiality, integrity, honesty, trust, discretion, adequate behaviour, posture, attention to detail, normal reactions, adapting capacity, availability to travel to extended working hours or irregular working hours, intelligence, patience, involvement, experience, knowledge about protocol, religiousness/ faith.
# Avoid candidates with the following traits: warrior personality, boastful, all-knowing, hyperactive, an ego blown out of proportions!
# As a principle, the person you are looking to hire must fit (not to find it hard to adapt/ fit) your lifestyle, to be prepared to dress and behave like yourself and like the people you are close to and be liked by these people!
In case you deal with the hiring by means of a security company representative, avoid the companies whose presentation documents include images of: ninja warriors, samurais, secret agents, those who offer the lowest price on the market, those who offer sales or promotions or those who feature a weapon on every page!
We are at the end of our short guidelines about hiring a bodyguard and I must make one final remark.
The most important factor in such a relationship is communication! Without it, there is not Trust! Without trust there can be no fair or long-lasting relationship!
The moment you entrust your life, integrity, safety, peace and well-being to a bodyguard you must be true to him regarding the existing or foreseeable challenges & threats to your person. Otherwise, he won’t be able to protect you and the danger will surprise/ expect you both, without any possibility for prevention.
In the end, I express my hope that this guide will be useful to some of you and I promise that in a future article I will come back with a natural continuation of today’s subject, namely some guidelines about the relationship between the Client and his bodyguard in order to establish some conditions/ rules necessary for developing optimal, fair and long-lasting cooperation!
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