Excellentia – Security company in London
London – our capital city and a truly unique location that bears no resemblance to anywhere else in the UK. Quite frankly, you might as well stick it on an island and push it out to sea, it really is that different from the rest of our fair island. It’s also the place that plays host to the vast majority of Close Protection tasks in this country, so is ‘London knowledge’ something to be considered a recognisable skill in its own right?
Close Protection in London
In a nutshell, yes, because I firmly believe a thorough working knowledge of the capital is a niche skill and one that close protection operators should definitely use to their advantage if they intend to do Close Protection in the London area. We all know what a competitive industry Close Protection is and the seemingly endless need to get course after course under your belt to stay current. Like many other security companies conducting close protection in London, we receive a fair few CV’s but I’m yet to see one that specifically makes mention of time spent operating in the Big Smoke. Applicants don’t hesitate to list any overseas roles because they know it helps them stand out, but in the eyes of companies covering UK stuff, a line such as ‘I have significant experience working in, and a strong appreciation of Central London as an environment’ would grab some attention as well. No it’s not Iraq, Africa, South America or any other god forsaken armpit of the world, and of course the chances are that the threat level is a lot less severe, but it still has it’s fair share of evils so having an intimate understanding of how the place ticks has got to be a huge advantage.
It’s not just the physical and geographical elements of doing Close Protection in London I’m referring to, (more of that shortly), it’s the sights, sounds and smells of the place that give you a constant stream of information about what’s happening on the ground from one moment to the next and knowing how to interpret these signs just doesn’t happen overnight. I’m going to be honest and say that an operator born and bred in the capital is undoubtedly a major asset, (as long as they’re up to scratch professionally of course), because they’re already tuned into ‘London life’ and what that means. Once you understand and fully appreciate London you also gain that same major advantage, the sixth sense ability to know when something isn’t quite as it should be and it forces you to become just that little bit more alert to your surroundings.
Of course other major towns and cities in the UK have their own atmospheres and their fair share of high-end hotels, restaurants, clubs and stores but it’s the sheer size, scale and diversity of London that sets it apart. It seems to me that some operators fail to take Close Protection in London seriously enough as an environment simply because it’s in the same country and so close to home. If guys get a task come up in Paris, Brussels or any other major European city they’ll no doubt do plenty of homework so they’re as prepared as possible. If a job comes up here in London, some (not all) seem content to rock up on the train the night before and jump right in at the deep end, even if they know very little about the area they’re going to be operating in.
On a far more practical level is what people would normally associate with the term ‘London knowledge’, the geographical appreciation of the city, where everything is and how to get from A to B. Don’t assume you’re always going to be able to rely on a driver for getting around, the principal is highly likely on occasions to emerge from their hotel suite and announce that they’re in the mood for a walk. And don’t be giving me any of that text book mumbo jumbo about how you’d insist that they do the journey in a vehicle for their own protection either, I’m talking about the real world now and if the principal wants to walk, they’ll walk. Whats the betting they’re expecting you to know exactly where you’re going and if you don’t, things are about to get a tad awkward because you can hardly walk the streets with the person you’re being paid to look after whilst studying Google Maps on your iPhone.
Let’s be honest, there are hundreds of situations and scenarios where knowing your way around London Town will make you a more effective, and a more sought after CPO. Fact is that many visiting international clients are London-centric and will expect you to be familiar with all that goes on in the capital. You might well be expected to act as their fixer, the go-to guy for whatever they need whilst they’re in town and knowing who to contact and where to go is part of this all encompassing familiarity with London.
Security Driving in London
In the chauffeuring world London knowledge is obviously a must and considerable emphasis is placed on being able to display a real understanding of where everything is, be it a restaurant or a whole area. If a driver was applying for a London-based task, their ability to know the capital geographically as well as its inner workings would be top of the list of priorities so I’ve never really understood why the same doesn’t apply to those supplying protection instead of it being simply an afterthought.
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This post was written by Andy Dubberley