All things being equal, secure transportation is the most critical aspect of executive protection. It deals with safeguarding the principal or protectees during their daily transitions from work to personal life and back. Simply put, secure transportation comprises the process of safely getting the person receiving protective services from point A to point B to point C and so forth — in comfort and with the least amount of friction.
Experience from real-life situations repeatedly proves that the principal is most vulnerable in and around the vehicle. Thus, it stands to reason that any risk assessment and intelligence-gathering efforts must factor in the threats that can adversely affect the protectees at embus and debus.
To that effect, multiple examples from previous years have demonstrated that harm and embarrassment can happen at the point when the protectee enters or exists the vehicle. For instance, egging, pieing, and other acts to disconcert the principal occurred when the high-profile individual left the car to greet a nearby crowd. In most such cases, their protective agents have failed to stop the intruders from getting their way for various reasons.
One way to mitigate this risk is to have executive protection staff in place on time. They should have a clear view of protectees before they let themselves out of the vehicle. However, this is only one potential course of action and falls short of detailing the complexity of secure transportation.
Thus, this article helps shed some light on the everyday benefits of secure transportation. In addition, it explains how securely transporting UHNW individuals and CEOs does not cease as soon as the principal leaves or enters the vehicle.
How Security Drivers Enhance Secure Transportation
Modern-day chauffeurs are typically experienced, licensed professionals. Yet, many don't have the aptitude to drive a vehicle that may become a target of hostile surveillance or escape a violent pursuer, for that matter. To accomplish this and more, you need a security driver with a background in evasive/defensive driving and vehicle manipulation.
In fact, knowing the mechanics behind every move and staying aware of how cars operate seems invaluable. Still, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to secure transportation. As with most things executive protection, the key is to plan, assess, and observe. In other words, the EP team needs to conduct a site advance that helps establish:
- Will the departure/arrival areas be clear, or will they have foot traffic, greeters, fans, protesters, etc.?
- What security measures can the protection team reasonably implement to mitigate threats and ensure the safety of the principal?
Sometimes, it may be wise to choose a different departure/arrival area or cancel the trip altogether. Nevertheless, it is understandable that nine times out of 10, the latter is not an option, as the principal needs to show up for an important public function. In any event, we suggest conducting a rigorous site advance and finding out as much as possible about the arriving/departure areas.
Note: A site advance helps ensure optimal security during and after transportation. In this phase, the security driver checks roads and picks evacuation routes.
After that, the next step for the driving specialist and the rest of the protection agents to consider is team communication. For example, suppose the principal travels by plane. In this case, the security team must be in constant contact with the pilot to exchange ETAs.
At the end of the day, having the right mix of skills to ensure a safe drive is the most important thing. And yet, all principals want to feel comfortable in the process. That includes traveling through urban environments with plenty of traffic and remote areas with potholes everywhere. Therefore, it is up to the security driver to ensure that the principal gets precisely what they need: a tranquil ride.
Suppose you intend to hire a person with experience in secure transportation. Before doing that, we suggest first learning what to look for in such an individual:
- How much experience do they have?
- Did they operate vehicles in Africa, Asia, the Americas? Which vehicles are those?
- Have they enrolled in training courses teaching vehicle manipulation in high-threat scenarios?
The last point is particularly noteworthy in more volatile environments where the unexpected can quickly materialize. Take, for example, the Nigerian city of Lagos. It features erratic driving habits, making it a nightmare for any secure transportation specialist.
Of course, many would mistakenly assume that having an armored vehicle could fix all pending issues pertaining to the protectee's safety in this instance. The reasoning further goes that the security driver could then only focus on the comfort of the high-profile individual.
Yet, armored vehicles draw too much attention and result in more cons than pros. Of course, that is not to say that they have no use in specific settings. But in some situations, operating a fast — rather than an armored vehicle — could mean the difference between a seamless, comfortable ride and attracting countless unwanted eyes.
Ultimately, it is the duty of the security driver to check routes and road conditions upfront. Also, they must conduct any other preparations to make the principal's time spent inside the vehicle an enjoyable and safe experience.
Striking a delicate balance between comfort and security always comes to the fore when discussing executive protection services. As expected, the principal wants to enjoy a smooth and seamless drive from the office to the residence and back. In addition, however, the protection agent is more concerned with safety along the way.
The latter definitively takes precedence when danger seems unavoidable. Anyhow, in order to provide the best possible secure transportation services, here are a few takeaways:
- Have the security driver and other team members conduct a site advance,
- Make sure the EP agent gets into their position before the protectees leave the vehicle,
- Vet the security driver rigorously to check their experience, operational capabilities, training certification, etc.,
- Keep track of weather broadcasts, announcements of political demonstrations, and signs of rioting.
Bedrock Special Projects provides peace of mind by implementing secure transportation measures to benefit prominent individuals, their families, and corporations. The Art of Executive Protection – Delivered with Elegance by Design.
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