What image does this phrase bring to mind? A big, burly bodyguard dressed in black with dark sunglasses
hovering over the CEO making sure people do not get too close. Or, do you picture a rather unimposing person
with a black belt in martial arts who can disable a perpetrator with his thumb? The term
"executive protection professional" should tell you all you need to know about the evolution of executive security
details. No-neck goons in black turtlenecks and lumpy suit jackets are fine if you want to hit a dance club with a posse,
but they are not effective protection for executives and their families. An effective EP program has to be based on intelligence,
research and preparation rather than sheer muscle.
Group understands the difference between a bodyguard and a protection professional: One specializes in brawn and physical strength.
An Executive Protection Professional, on the other hand, is highly trained and skilled in analysis, techniques, tactics,
firearms, etc. and is much better prepared to identify threats before they materialize. The key to effective protection
is avoidance of problems before they arise coupled with the ability to deal with problems should they occur.
Executive protection is actually an extremely complex field. The Hawkins Group Executive protection
(EP) specialists are expected to be well schooled, highly trained, ethical men and women who can analyze and satisfy personal
protection needs from A to Z. EP protects corporate executives, against all types of threats including
those from irate former employees, upset investors, and others who have made the executive a target for any reason, real or
imagined. EP also protects women from violent ex-spouses/boyfriends, witnesses in high profile legal proceedings
and anyone else with a need for protection.
Threats requiring EP services include, but are
not limited to: kidnapping, robbery, vandalizing, assault, injury, and assassination. True executive protection
is an around-the-clock operation. The Hawkins Group EP specialist always is thinking, evaluating situations,
and asking questions in order to provide a better and more secure environment as well as to avoid potential dangers.
Our EP services can be either long term for high profile executives or temporary such as in situations where the executive
may become a target as the result of employee termination or in cases of labor unrest.
must always begin at home. Are your premises secure? Do you have plans in place for
a fire or other emergencies? Protection then moves to travel—from home to work and vice versa.
Is the vehicle capable of deflecting various types of attacks? Does a trained driver operate it,
or has the executive graduated from defensive driving school? Which route is safest? Are
routes and times always the same or are they varied?
The Hawkins Group EP specialist
must also take into consideration the different phases and levels of protection at work and when traveling. Obviously,
international travel poses greater risks, but domestic travel must not be ignored. What is the most secure
form of travel? What potential threats face the executive at other locations?
Ultimately, the EP specialist’s main duty is to anticipate threats, and then help avoid them. Robert
L. Oatman, author of The Art of Executive Protection, notes that executive protection is more about threat assessment,
protective intelligence, transportation, choreography, advance work, resources, technology, and support.
In order to minimize threats, The Hawkins Group’s EP specialists must rely mainly on experience, intelligence
analysis, and personal alertness. The first step in providing protection is to conduct a threat or vulnerability
assessment. EP specialists examine the executive’s risk-attracting characteristics, frequency and
places of travel, the crime rates in places frequented, threats made against the company, home and office security, daily
and travel habits, and much more. Doing so allows the specialist to know what level of protection the executive
needs and to what extent.
When an executive travels, the EP team must know which locations
are more dangerous, and respond accordingly. For example, Latin American countries have the highest kidnapping
rate, and EP specialists must have a plan of action to ensure that the “boss” does not become a victim.
Also, the EP team is responsible for creating the most secure route from point to point, as well as knowing the locations
and specialties of area hospitals in case of a medical emergency. Executive protection has become such a vital corporate
asset that many companies are creating their own response teams as part of essential business expenses. A
threat to the executive is a threat to the business. Executive protection helps the business by keeping
a key company asset safe and well. In turn, it allows the company to make the most of that asset by freeing
the executive from worry about personal and family safety, making it easier for him or her to concentrate fully on the business
of a corporate need: Terrified, haggard and frostbitten,
Karen McMullan refused to give police the details of her ordeal until she knew her husband Kevin was safe. Twenty-four hours
earlier, men dressed as police officers had talked their way into the McMullan's home. Once inside, they held a gun to the head of Kevin McMullan, the assistant bank manager for Northern Bank in
Belfast, Northern Ireland, and explained
that he would help them carry out a daring robbery. To ensure his cooperation, they kidnapped his wife. At the same
time just a few miles away, armed men entered the home of another bank employee, supervisor Chris Ward, and conscripted him
into their plan by taking his mother, father, brother and brother's girlfriend hostage. Per the kidnappers' instructions,
the next evening McMullan and Ward used their security passes to enter Northern Bank's inner vault and packed up bags
of banknotes. The cash was loaded into a white truck and driven away. Hours later, Karen McMullan staggered out of a Northern
Ireland forest and into the first house she found.Many companies pay lip service to the notion that employees are their
most valuable assets, but few have actually done the math. In the case of Northern Bank, the use of the McMullan and Ward
families in that December 2004 robbery cost approximately $50 million—and that is just the thieves' take. Add to
that the public relations costs (worldwide headlines, inquiries by prosecutors and British intelligence), and the tab runs
The threats facing an executive vary widely
depending on the size of the company, the industry it belongs to and the individual executive's profile. Executives in
oft-targeted sectors such as the financial services, pharmaceutical and energy industries, and those with executives based
overseas, worry about kidnapping, carjacking, mail-borne explosives, biological agents and eco-terrorism. Threatening letters
and e-mails and workplace violence fill out the list. Personal
Protection for Individuals: Corporate executives are not the only individuals who find
themselves in need of protective services. Often women involved in extracting themselves from an abusive relationship
find that a Court issued Order of Protection is insufficient to assure their safety. The Hawkins Group has provided
protective services in such situations including those where the male party needs access to reclaim his personal belongings
or other property and the woman correctly realizes that having her safety assured is a necessary precaution against renewed
or threatened acts of violence. We have found that the very presence of a trained personal protection specialist can
either defuse a potentially dangerous situation or stop such a situation before it can get out of hand.