Careers in Close Protection

Why Work in CP?

The close protection industry is a dynamic and fast evolving sector of the global security industry and is itself comprised of several nuanced areas of expertise, such as; celebrity, VIP and high net worth protection, incorporating specialisms in maritime, aviation and hostile environment protection. The role is demanding, competitive and requires dedication beyond that which most jobs ask. However, it can also be an incredibly rewarding profession, allowing you a view of the world that you would never normally see.

This, coupled with the expectation of good salaries, have made close protection an increasingly popular career choice, particularly amongst service leavers.


The British Bodyguard Association established itself a number of years ago, during a period of unprecedented growth in the security industry. The BBA was originally formed to allow operators to network and find employment wherever they were deployed. Since then, the association has grown and now provides support to our many members, guiding and assisting in their professional development and helping them to enjoy long and rewarding careers.

BBA Membership Options >1

What is a Close Protection Operative?

Irrespective of the many niche areas of security, close protection operatives (CPO s), or bodyguards, can commonly be defined by the single most important requirement expected of them in their professional capacity; to provide physical protection to a principal, shielding them from any potential harm and to quickly get them to safety. The different types of threat commonly faced by bodyguards across the globe include: violence, kidnapping, mugging, hostile confrontation, acts of terrorism, natural disasters and more subtle threats such as: reputation damage, bribery and potentially embarrassing situations. To be a successful CPO you will need a wide range of skills and plenty of self discipline and unlike conventional jobs, you will have to make time for, and in many cases, pay for your own professional development.

To be successful as a CPO you will need to meet a certain criteria to ensure you are suitable for the role and will not add any undue risk to the principal or hinder the assignment in any way. Good protection operatives possess the following characteristics in abundance:

High Level of Fitness

Calm under pressure

Fast and effective decision maker

Good Time Keeper

Team Player

Ability to Operate on own initiative


Good communication skills


How do I get Started?

Most CPO s are employed through private companies who are appointed by those who seek protection. Not all jobs are the same and many require different skills and experience from their operators so it s advisable to diversify your development and be prepared for any situation and thereby making yourself more employable. But first off, you need to be licensed, which means getting qualified by undertaking a training course that meets SIA (Security Industry Authority) criteria. There are many other factors which should be considered before opting for the first training provider you come across.

Read more on how to select a training provider >2

What does Close Protection Training Involve?

A close protection course typically involves intensive training that runs continuously from start to finish, immersing a student in the world of a CPO.

It s vitally important to find a training company who offer a high quality professional service and it s advisable to do a great deal of research in this department before enrolling with any training provider. Unfortunately, in the wake a regulation, a lot of companies have appeared, offering students a cheap and quick route to certification by compromising standards in order to process would-be operators through their course at a rapid rate. Sadly, for several years this became a viable route into the industry as demand outstripped supply. But now, in a more settled environment employers scrutinise perspective candidates, and not valuing the training you undertake is a sure fire way to remain unemployed. Suddenly, what seemed like a cheap investment in a training course actually turns out to be quite expensive as you re faced with the prospect of retraining or giving up on your dream of becoming a protection specialist.

For more information go to our Training3 section.


Once you ve passed your entry course and acquired the necessary accreditation and licensing you will be expected to undertake Continuous Professional Development (CPD). From a practical point of view this ensures that your skills and knowledge remain fresh in all the areas you have trained in but also by expanding your ability in other areas it will make you more versatile and more employable. You never know where demand will shift to next in a global market, so remain openminded and adaptable, and commit to development.

For more in-depth information go to our Development4 section.

Close Protection Jobs

Despite a downsizing in the numbers of CPOs employed in hostile protection, in the likes of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf of Aden, the requirement for close protection is increasing all the time. In a hostile and unpredictable world, where natural resources are becoming more scarce and governments can be overthrown via social media, people from all walks of life are more invested in security. So long as you have the necessary qualifications and accreditation, display the correct attitude and have access to experienced networks of professionals then you have a chance of making it as a CPO.

Networking remains an integral part of gaining employment in the close protection industry, it is vitally important to establish and maintain relationships with experienced and operational professionals so that you may be recommended for jobs. It remains the most likely way of learning about new vacancies and given that over 80% of work is given to people who are known by current employees, it s also your most likely route to employment.

More about BBA Job Vacancies >5

Security Industry Authority (SIA) Licence

To work in the private security sector in the UK, or to work for a British company abroad, operatives are required by law to be licensed by the SIA and it is your responsibility to obtain the required licence and ensure you stay in date. The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry; it is a criminal offence to undertake the licensable activities of a close protection operative without an SIA licence.

To obtain an SIA licence you must meet certain criteria to determine whether you are a suitable candidate.

Licensing is in place to ensure that you adhere to industry standards and uphold them.

Find out more about the SIA licensing criteria6.


  1. ^ BBA Membership Options > (
  2. ^ select a training provider > (
  3. ^ Training (
  4. ^ Development (
  5. ^ BBA Job Vacancies > (
  6. ^ SIA licensing criteria (

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