Close Protection Officers (CPOs) are often referred to as bodyguards – possibly made popular by all of the cliche bodyguard movies we can’t help but watch over and over again. CPOs are responsible for the personal protection of their clients. This usually entails personally monitoring their clients’ daily whereabouts.
The sometimes (very) dramatic portrayal of CPOs in these action-packed movies create a false perception around what these protection officers do as well as who they are. We have taken the time to identify and bust the five biggest myths surrounding CPOs.
Our Top 5 Myths:
- CPOs are ALWAYS men
Not all bodyguards are men. In some situations, a male bodyguard is not needed. A female CPO offers a unique perspective on the world of executive protection. This is not to say that this approach is better or worse, but rather just a different angle to solving the same problem. As a generalisation, female close protection officer’s tend to be less aggressive than their male counterparts. Often female CPOs are preferred because they offer a perception of softness – making a female CPO a better option for families with young children.
Both men and women are perfect candidates in a CPO position, each offering a unique take on the role and offering various takes on how to handle a situation or how to best use their training to better any situation.
2. The bigger the better
Usually, the first thing that people think of when thinking of a CPO is that they need to be an intimidating, abnormally tall, musclebound monster where the bigger the frame, the more protective they’ll be. While some clients prefer to hire a personal protection officer that looks like this – size is certainly no guarantee of professional ability. Ideally, the close protection officer should be someone who doesn’t draw unnecessary attention that operates discreetly whilst blending into the crowd. Agility and the ability to think on your feet are more important than the size of a CPO.
3. CPOs are only used by celebrities
While most celebrities do hire bodyguards, a large number of ordinary, everyday people also require some form of personal protection. These may range from a business executive travelling overseas to an unfamiliar location to someone feeling threatened by the likes of stalkers. In addition, an increasing number of clients feel the need to hire personal protection to safeguard their children.
4. CPOs are trigger happy
CPOs may not necessarily be armed. Admin processes must be in place in order for CPOs to be allowed to carry firearms – permits and licenses must be obtained. In some countries, bodyguards are strictly prohibited from carrying arms. However, CPOs do not need to be armed to protect you.
Many CPOs believe that resorting to gunplay means they have pretty much already failed. The misconception is we’re in this business to fight or draw guns. CPOs are trained to cover and get their principles out of harm’s way. The goal is not to use force. If a CPO needs to draw a gun to respond to a situation – he’s already behind.
5. CPOs have more brawn than brains
A common misconception surrounding CPOs is to be a successful CPO, you only need large muscles and great stamina to get the job done. While having strength and endurance is often vital to their role, CPOs need to react quickly in certain situations and have the capacity to predict if a dangerous situation may arise. By going through rigorous training, CPOs become experts in their field – both physically AND mentally. Having the mental ability to handle various situations far exceeds the need for big muscles.
These myths are only some that surround this line of work. The film industry has definitely had a hand in creating a somewhat false image of this highly skilled yet misunderstood profession where intellect outweighs physical strength. CPOs are still considered a mystery as to what they can actually offer you but regardless of this, you will always be protected by them in any high-risk situation.