Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Guest post by Adam (pseudonym): SIA Qualified CP Officer
I was recently assigned as a CPO team leader of a 4-man team, guarding a top executive during his visit to Malaysia. We were briefed of the mission detail a couple of weeks prior and met up with an international security consultant heading the operation.
As the team leader of the local (on the ground) team, I made sure to take initiative from the first day of operational briefing. It was important that the team understood the tasks at hand from a broad picture and zooming in to the specific individual tasks given to each operative. Our job began a week before the actual arrival of the VIP, and we repeated it again when the consultant arrived.
A one day reconnaissance of all routes and destination was conducted the day after we received our brief and I asked my team questions to get their feedback and also to ensure their involvement in the decision making process.
If there’s one thing I want to avoid it would be to any misunderstanding that arises from the team management process and leadership; I wanted everyone to have a say in their opinion and ideas, not just what I have on top of my head.
That is one thing that I would ensure and if a team member still doesn’t get that, then he doesn’t have the intelligence I would require in a complex op like the one we ran.
The overall mission was a success and we were able to reach every destination earlier than scheduled. I recommended that we leave earlier for some destinations due to heavy traffic during Friday prayers and evening peak hours, and was given feedback that because of my advice, the VIP was able to avoid road hiccups along the way and reached his meeting on time.
There were unexpected activities nearing towards one of the destination, and if we didn’t leave early, the activity might have occupied a much larger space along the traffic.
Another expected outcome from escorting VIPs are the usual hiccups. We can’t expect the journey management to go as planned nor can we have them be done in strict order.
Nevertheless, we had last minute requests for on-foot tours and change of destinations. This was not a problem since we adapted to the situation. I was in direct contact with the VIP and advised him on traffic situations + extra time on the road, by which he listened and even cancelled / changed plans, making sure that we would be able to meet up with our next appointment.
A VIP who cooperates with his protective detail is an ideal principal to serve and we were glad our professional outlook was given due consideration.
It goes without saying that when men in dark suits walk along the streets of Klang Valley, all eyes are on them and their VIP.
It’s an unavoidable scene since the principal requires that we wear a jacket at that point. However, I informed the team to bring extra covert clothing if the need arises, especially when going about to a much rural or local scene downtown.
As protection officers, I reminded the team that we are chameleons and should dress with the crowd, not against them.
The level of alertness should also be heightened since we were the centre of attraction as we walked along the crowd at the KLCC area.
Finally, an important lesson that I’ve shared with my team is to not let our guards down even if we may be a minute towards the end of our protective mission.
This was proven when we dropped the VIP at the airport and I was walking with him to the departure gate: someone wasn’t looking where he was walking and almost rammed the VIP with his luggage-packed trolley. I saw it coming and laid out my arm across the VIP to push it away.
Fortunately, it was inches away from hitting the VIP; the VIP was cool about it and kept walking.
A simple thank you and show of gratitude by the VIP and his men was enough for us to feel that we did a job well done.