Executive Protection Solutions

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Guildstone Associates
Executive Protection Solutions

Introduction

Due to the elevated risk profile faced by our premier corporate and private clients, Guildstone Associates has designed a suite of bespoke risk mitigation and executive protection solutions. These solutions are designed to assist our clients in navigating an increasingly complex risk environment and support the achievement of their corporate, professional and lifestyle goals.

Company Overview

Guildstone Associates is an innovative client focused company that looks to build enduring relationships with our corporate and private clients via the provision of individually tailored and truly holistic risk management and protective security solutions.

Adherence to our core values ensures that we at all times operate to the highest professional standards and that our corporate and private clients can have total confidence that their interests will always be placed at the heart of our operating methodology.

Experience in bespoke Risk Mitigation and Executive Protection Solutions

Since its founding within the Black Diamond Group, Guildstone Associates has gained extensive experience in delivering bespoke low-profile executive protection solutions to a diverse range of premier corporate and private clients.

Risk Profile of Premier Corporate and Private Clients

The elevated risk profile faced by our premier corporate and private clients is complex and evolving. Whether our clients are corporate entities or private individuals this risk profile is impacted by multiple factors including political trends, global events, professional and business relationships, public personas, personal or family wealth, political or campaigning activities.

The threats generated by our clients’ profiles are multifaceted and can include:

  • Targeted criminal activity such as assault, theft, blackmail, and fraud
  • Cyber-attacks and ransom attempts
  • Political and campaigning activity led by radicalised groups
  • Media intrusion and reputational damage
  • Protesters and fixated individuals

The effective mitigation and management of these threats requires the holistic approach of a Protective Security Associates whose professional expertise and role far exceeds that of a traditional bodyguard or close protection officer.

Our Staff – Executive Protection Associates

A key component of Guildstone’s success in supporting its clients has been its ability to deploy high calibre multiskilled Protective Security Associates to manage and mitigate the threats they face. Many of these Associates will have served in specialist military, law enforcement and private sector organisations.

Guildstone understands that when deployed our Associates will form a key component of clients’ corporate or lifestyle management teams, they are therefore individually matched to clients’ professional and lifestyle requirements. This bespoke approach allows our Protective Security Associates to carry out their duties in a discrete professional manner that enhances client safety without detracting from a client’s ability to freely interact with friends, colleagues, business and lifestyle associates. This approach can also stand in contrast to more overt and occasionally intimidatory approaches to executive protection. Although these more overt approaches may initially offer an element of outward reassurance to a client.  They often put clients at greater risk by highlighting the client’s presence and antagonising persons whom the client may wish to engage with at a professional or social level.

Guildstone places a high emphasis on discretion and professionalism. Once a threat actor has identified a close protection specialist, they will have breached one of the initial protective security layers surrounding a protected person (known as the Principal) and will be developing plans to mitigate the specialist’s ability to protect the individuals they are assigned to. This will often be done via distraction and other techniques designed to isolate the Principal from the security professional. The mitigation of this threat requires the assignment of high calibre Protective Security Associates who have the behavioural detection and countersurveillance skills to recognise and mitigate this threat.

Note:

Many media teams who wish to gain access to a client will have skilled security professionals integrated into their teams. They have previously used the knowledge and experience of these professionals to mitigate the effectiveness of protective security professionals and gain unscheduled access to high-profile individuals.

Key Competencies of Guildstone Protective Security Associates

All Guildstone Protective Security Associates are trained to carry out their duties in a discrete low-profile manner. As qualified executive protection officers, they are skilled in the following key competencies which are assessed prior to deployment on task:

  • Behavioural detection and profiling
  • Countersurveillance, situational awareness and information gathering
  • Risk management and planning including dynamic risk assessments
  • Conflict management and de-escalation
  • People management and customer centric interpersonal skills
  • Physical intervention and restraint
  • Media awareness and management of the media narrative
  • Reputational risk management
  • Extraction and evacuation methods
  • Medical first response

Recruitment and Assessment of Protective Security Associates

To maintain the high calibre of its Protective Security Associates, Guildstone recruits via a selective and proactive process that makes full use of its network of acknowledged security industry professionals.

All Associates are required to provide the following documentation prior to undertaking an evaluation and probationary assessment:

  • Verifiable career history of employment in key military, law enforcement or security industry protective security roles
  • Evidence of significant operational executive protection experience
  • References from known senior military, law enforcement or security industry professionals
  • UK SIA Close Protection Licence
  • Recognised first response medical qualification
  • Documented evidence of specialist qualifications and experience in areas such as surveillance, behavioural detection, firearms and cyber security
  • Valid Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate

Guildstone Associates Operational Strategy

Our Protective Security Associates and Protective Security Teams carry out their duties in line with Guildstone Associates’ Operational Security Strategy. This strategy aligns with the UK National Security Framework in the following key areas:

  • Good Governance – Leadership that provides effective security and accountability.
  • Culture and Awareness – A security culture with clear personal accountability and a mature understanding of managing risk, responsibility and reputational protection.
  • Risk Management – Risk management that analyses threats via proven risk management mechanisms and enables clients to make informed, practical and effective business enabling decisions.
  • Information – Information policies that give clients confidence that Guildstone Associates will always maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their information.
  • Technology and Equipment – Use of modern and functional technology and equipment that is resilient to threats and compliant with data protection regulations.
  • Personnel Security – Personnel are a client’s most important asset. Ensuring personnel are suitably protected is key to client confidence.
  • Physical Security – Physical security measures that ensure clients are provided with a safe and secure working environment that protects against a wide range of threats from media intrusion and crime to terrorism.
  • Preparing for and Responding to Security Incidents – Proven security responses managed by experienced staff will greatly reduce a client’s vulnerability to security incidents, disruptive activities and reputational damage.
  • Policy Priorities – Providing security that is truly aligned with client needs and priorities.
  • Vetting – Guildstone Associates only uses personnel who are appropriately licenced and referenced.
  • Accountability – Guildstone Associates always holds itself accountable to clients and key stakeholders, providing confidence that its services will be delivered to meet and exceed their requirements.

Diversity and Inclusion

Guildstone Associates is an inclusive employer that respects difference and strives to attract talent from all areas of society. It overtly embraces equality of opportunity and seeks to develop and mentor talent from sectors of society that are underrepresented in the security industry.

This commitment to diversity, mentoring and development allows Guildstone to draw from a board pool of high-calibre talent and individually match our Protective Security Associates to client profiles and requirements.

Operational Methodology Protective Security Associates

Primary Role

The primary role of a Protective Security Associate is to protect the person or persons they are assigned to (referred to as the Principals) from threats to their person, physical assets such as properties, vehicles etc and intangible assets such as reputation and corporate persona. To do this they need to develop a full understanding of a client’s ethos, values, concerns and aspirations in order to build an individualised risk profile. This risk profile will be used to form the basis of the client risk assessment and security plan.

Method of Operation

To minimise the impact of security and safety concerns upon a Principal’s professional and private activities Guildstone’s Protective Security Associates are trained to carry out their duties in a highly professional but unobtrusive manner. They are trained to ensure the safety of the Principal via the use of specialist behavioural detection, executive protection and counter-surveillance techniques rather than an overt, intimidatory and potentially confrontational security postures.

To the casual observer, they should appear to be acquaintances or colleagues of the Principal rather than an overt contracted security presence.

Assessment of Risk and Security Plan

Prior to the commencement of an assignment Guildstone Associates will undertake a detailed client risk assessment and draft an individualised security plan.

The risk assessment and security plan will be built via a phased methodology that can be aligned with the API 780 and ISO 31000 standards. The aim is to facilitate a bespoke security strategy that is both cost-effective and commensurate with the threat faced by the Principal.

The final phase will be the inclusion and integration of the security plan and recommendation within any current corporate or personal security plans and procedures that the Principal is currently included in.

The phases are as follows:

  1. Definition – Protected persons, assets and activity (environment)
  2. Threat Identification
  3. Review of Current safety and security measures and infrastructure
  4. Pre-mitigation scoring and production of threat mitigation recommendations
  5. Post-mitigation scoring
  6. Production of security plan
  7. Input or revisions to the Principal’s current security plans and procedures

This process approaches risk as the product of a ‘threat actor.’ The pathway by which a threat actor poses a risk to the Principal, their staff, environment, assets and reputation is known as a ‘threat stream’. The resulting risk is measured by the probability of the threat actor navigating a threat stream, the consequence to the Principal should the threat actor be successful and the vulnerability of the Principal to the risk.

Detailed Operational Methodology

When deployed in support of our clients Guildstone Associates Protective Security Teams carry out their duties in line with a detailed event or task specific operating methodology.

Key components of this methodology are outlined below:

Media Awareness and Control of the Media Narrative

Guildstone’s Protective Security Associates conduct themselves with an awareness of both the need to protect the reputation of the client and their assigned Principal and the need to maintain control of the wider media narrative surrounding them. This awareness is acutely relevant in the era of mass social media and the 24hr news cycle.

Any approaches by members of the media will be noted and directed to a client’s designated media management interface.

Legislative Requirements

All Associates are fully aware of the legislative requirements of licensed security operatives deployed in an executive protection role specifically, the following:

  • Their actions must at all times abide by the requirements of the relevant legal, human rights and data protection legislation.
  • Evidence collation carried out by Associates must be done in a manner that ensures the evidence is admissible in a court of law.

Interventions

In the majority of cases, the support Guildstone’s Protective Security Associates provide to clients will be to provide a reassuring presence that allows the Principal to carry out their activities confident that in the event of any untoward activity, the resources to protect them are in place.

There will however inevitably be situations where Associates may have cause to intervene to prevent physical or reputational harm to the Principal. The vast majority of these interventions will be dealt with via the use of people management and customer service techniques.

Although the highest levels of discretion and customer service skills will be deployed. In any intervention situation, the safety of the Principal will always be paramount.

The key components of any intervention action will be:

  • Ensuring the safety of the Principal primarily by distancing them from the threat regardless of whether this threat is physical or reputational.
  • Retaining control of the media narrative.
  • Carrying out all actions in a manner that is both lawful and compliant with the client’s ethos and values.

Specific Intervention Techniques

Unprovoked Attacks Planned or Spontaneous

  • All Associates are trained in behavioural detection and close protection techniques. They will use these techniques to monitor interactions between the Principal and other parties.
  • If an individual or group move to attempt to launch an unprovoked attack on the Principal, Associates possess the skills and capability to be able to move swiftly to neutralise the threat and extract the Principal to a place of safety.
  • Once the Principal is safe, if appropriate, law enforcement agencies will be notified.

Actions that could Undermine the Reputation of the Principal

  • Associates will maintain an awareness of actions that could undermine the reputation of the principal. These actions may be pre-planned or spontaneous in nature. They can include ambush marketing and important types of stunts or protest activity.
  • These actions may be carried out for commercial gain (YouTubers) or to highlight an individual‘s or group’s concerns or cause.
  • Procedures for dealing with these actions will vary dependent on the type of action and the client’s wishes.
  • The protection of the Principal and their staff along with the minimising of any reputational damage will always be an Associate’s primary objective in these situations.

Provision of Additional Services

Should clients require enhanced support, Guildstone Associates are able to meet this requirement via a complimentary range of risk management and support solutions including:

  • Embedded security consultancy
  • Surveillance and counter-surveillance services
  • Cyber security
  • Corporate, project and event security surveys and risk assessments
  • Operational management and operations room solutions
  • Emergency and first response medical support
  • Travel advice
  • Security infrastructure planning and installation
  • Event management
  • Equipment hire
  • Logistical support
  • Transportation services (VIP, passenger and logistical)

Summary

Via the use of highly skilled low-profile Protective Security Associates and specialised executive protection techniques, Guildstone Associates is able to offer its clients a suite of premier risk mitigation and executive protection solutions.

These solutions support our clients in the achievement of their corporate, professional and lifestyle goals in a manner that is reflective of their professional and personal ethos and not by the threats that they face.

Appendix B Scenarios Illustrating Guildstone’s Approach to Executive Protection

Scenarios Illustrating Guildstone’s Approach to Executive Protection

The following scenarios are presented as an illustration of how Guildstone’s approach to executive protection differs from more traditional bodyguard and close protection strategies.

Scenario A

A high-profile corporate executive (the Principal) is attending a public event at a major hotel in London. The executive’s company has attracted negative publicity and the attention of protest groups due to its commercial activities. The company have therefore contracted a security company to provide security support for the Principal while they attend the event.

Prior to the event, the security company conducted an open-source intelligence review and no specific threat to the event or attendees was identified.

On the day of the event, the executive is met by a team of three; tall, smartly dressed, well-built, black suited male close protection officers at their residence in the home counties and escorted to the event in London. The officers who have previously conducted a reconnaissance guide the executive into the venue via the VIP route. During the event, the officers maintain an appropriate distance from the Principal, with the assigned Personal Protective Operator or Officer (PPO) being the nearest. The distance is commensurate with the need to not crowd or impede the Principal’s ability to interact with fellow attendees, but be sufficiently close to be able to react if required.

At a prearranged moment during the event, members of a protest group who have identified the officers conduct a targeted distraction exercise. While the officers are distracted another protestor throws a brightly coloured liquid over the Principal. The liquid symbolising the allegedly destructive activity of the Principal’s company. The officers react by pushing the distractors away, forming a cordon and escorting the Principal to the emergency exit. As the officers arrive at the exit, they find it blocked by a group of placard holding protesters who gained access to the venue via employment as temporary agency staff. The officers force their way through and exit the venue. All this is caught on camera by the public and attending media.

Scenario B

An alternative scenario using Guildstone’s operating methodology is as follows.

As in the above scenario, Guildstone conducted an intelligence review which noted that no specific threats could be identified via open-source searches. They are however aware of several long-standing threats to the client company. They are also fully aware that in recent years many protest groups have professionalised their activities and received specialist operational training. This increased level of professionalism means that it is entirely possible that protest groups may adopt effective information closedown techniques to minimise the leaking of information on a planned protest activity.

Guildstone will have also conducted a reconnaissance of the venue. This reconnaissance will have been led by the Associate allocated to the Advanced Protection role within the team. During the reconnaissance the Associate will speak to key staff at all levels, identify and walk all entry and exit routes and gather as much information as possible on attendees and staff working on the event. They will normally introduce themselves as an event safety coordinator in line with Guildstone’s low profile operational strategy.

These primary tasks will have contributed to the event security plan which will have been briefed to the client security management team and the principal prior to the event.

On the day of the event, the advanced Associate will have deployed to the venue prior to the arrival of participants and confirmed the details of the reconnaissance noting any changes. In particular, he will have:

  • Made formal contact with the hotel management and event organisers.
  • Spoken informally to other key permanent staff.
  • Enquired about any unusual activity including the behaviour of temporary hire staff.
  • Walked and confirm the viability of all exit points and the security of all entry points.

The Advanced Associate will have been dressed and conducted themself in line with the expected dress and conduct of other event management and attendees.

Once the Advanced Associate has conducted this activity, they will have contacted the Associate assigned to the personal protective role and confirm that the venue is compliant with requirements. At Guildstone this role is referred to as a Personal Protective Associate or PPA. They will have noted that during their confirmatory reconnaissance, several permanent staff members commented that certain unfamiliar temporary staff have been asking a lot of questions and acting strangely. This information will have also been passed to the third team member whose role is outlined below.

As event attendees arrive the third member of the team will also arrive at the venue. This Associate will be carrying out a behavioural detection role and will be known as the Behavioural Detection Associate or BDA. They will be fully trained in behavioural detection techniques; these techniques monitor the behaviour and activities of individuals in order to note any potentially hostile intentions. They are based around a set of skills which allow BDAs to note subtle signs in behaviour, anticipate hostile acts and uncover deceptive and counter-surveillance activity. BDAs operate covertly and appear to observers to be normal event attendees. Should the event progress without incident it is unlikely that other attendees or the principal will be aware of their presence. Taking advantage of negative societal perceptions of protective security operatives, these officers are often female, as the majority of hostile observers will be looking for stereotypical male security professionals.

Once the PPA received confirmation from the Advanced Associate that the venue was compliant, they would have carried out a confirmatory brief before accompanying the Principal to the venue. As in the previous scenario, they would have entered via the VIP entrance as at this stage no active on-site threat had been identified.

The Associate carrying out the PPA role will have been individually matched to the Principal, the threat level and the event. The aim is that in dress, appearance and conduct they will appear to be a member of the Principal’s team, an acquaintance or fellow attendee, rather than an executive protection professional. This matching of PPAs in order to maintain the correct profile will often lead to Associates being matched to a Principal’s gender, business and lifestyle profiles when being allocated to a task.

As the event progresses the BDA who would have been monitoring the attendees and temporary staff noted suspicious activity, collusion and hostile surveillance of the Principal. This activity would have included the movement of temporary hire staff to seemingly pre-arrange locations in a manner that did not appear to be event related. The BDA will have covertly informed the PPA and Advanced Associate of this activity.

After receiving this information, the PPA will have conducted a dynamic risk assessment and advised the Principal that they should exit the venue. The Principal will be aware from the earlier security brief that this will be via a staff exit that has been reconnaissanced and proven by the Advanced Associate rather than the main or emergency exits.

The PPA would then have discretely moved with the Principal to the staff exit. At the same time, the Advance Associate and the BDA will have moved as discreetly as possible to screen the departure of the Principal and prevent any persons with hostile intent from blocking it.

These moves will have been done in a low-key manner so as not to attract attention towards the Principal or identify the members of the protection team.

The protesters had been taken off guard by the unforeseen departure of the Principal and moved to initiate their protest earlier than planned. As they could no longer target the Principal, they staged a placard protest with no throwing of liquid. The protest was recorded and received some minor media publicity.

Advantages of Guildstone’s Operating Methodology in these Scenarios

Key advantages of Guildstone’s operating methodology are outlined below:

Safety and Security

  • There is no confrontation between the Principal and the protesters.
  • The profile of the protest, opportunity for escalation and threat to the Principal are all therefore greatly lowered

Media Reporting and Management of the Narrative

  • The media does not highlight the attendance of the Principal or report them or the client company as the target of the protest.
  • There is no negative reporting or footage of security professionals manhandling or forcing their way through protesters.
  • The Principal is not seen to be retreating in the face of public protest.

Future Events

  • The protesters will have viewed the Principal’s departure as fortuitous and good timing on his behalf and remain unaware of the role of the security team. This will allow future operational flexibility including the use of the strategy and protection team at future events.
  • While the protesters will have identified themselves and exposed their strategy, making the use of the same individuals or strategy problematic at future events.

The Principles of a Low Profile Approach to Protective Security

The principles that lie behind Guildstone’s low profile approach to protective security are outlined below:

Safety of the Principal – The Safety of the Principal is always the paramount priority.

Reduce Visibility – If you are not identified you cannot be targeted. The more protective security professionals are observed the more they will be targeted and their effectiveness mitigated.

Be Outwardly Inconspicuous and Inwardly Effective – If you are dressed in a different style or have a noticeably different appearance from other persons in your surroundings you will stand out and be observed. Examples could be one of the few males at a female event or the considerably younger person at the senior executive meet and greet.

Managing and Matching Appearance – A low-profile appearance should merge with the surroundings. Associates should dress in line with the event and principal but in a manner that does not highlight them.

Limiting Interactions – Interactions increase exposure, skilled Protective Security Associates will limit their interactions without appearing to be impolite or restricting their access to information sources such as key venue staff.

Layering Information – To maintain a low profile an Associate will reveal the minimum information about themself, the client and the Principal. Initiating and maintaining a reciprocal conversation while revealing very little about oneself is a key skill in this area. Outwardly not engaging and revealing nothing can attract as much attention as saying too much.

Summary

In summary, a bespoke low profile approach to protective security has multiple benefits for a client. It is far less intrusive and allows clients to conduct their professional and lifestyle activities on their own terms. It reduces personal and reputational risk by allowing far greater control of media narratives. But most importantly from a security perspective, it allows greater operational flexibility. If a threat actor cannot identify security measures, they cannot mitigate them, ensuring the operational flexibility and choices remain with the client and not the threat actors.

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Guildstone Associates
Executive Protection Solutions

To register an interest

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