A Bodyguard is a person who professionally protects someone (known as their principal) from personal assault, kidnapping, assassination, loss of confidential information, or other threats. Alternative term for bodyguard that is gaining popularity (particularly with the bodyguards themselves) is close-protection officer. Many professional training courses identify themselves close-protection training instead of bodyguarding training, for example.
Bodyguards may be armed, depending on the laws in their jurisdiction, and have expertise in unarmed combat, tactical driving, and first aid. However, the most important skill for a bodyguard is the ability to assess a situation and decide how best to respond to minimize danger to his principal.
Most important public figures are protected by several bodyguards who work as a unit (or even agency), using sophisticated tactics. Less-important protectees (or those with lower risk profiles) are accompanied by a single bodyguard, who may double as a driver. However, some billionaires and dignitaries choose to dispense with bodyguards in all but the most risky situations.
In multi-agent units (like those protecting a celebrity or a head of state) one or more bodyguards may specialize in specific tasks, such as:
operation of physical security measures (regarding premises, transport vehicles and personal armor)
intelligence, threat/vulnerability/risk assessment and analysis
explosives and chemical detection
sniper warfare and special weapons
crowd screening and control
Regardless of the team size, there must be a comprehensive security plan with a staffing plan and budget.
Other uses of the term
A minder is a bodyguard who protects the financial interests of the principal rather than their personal safety.
The Japanese word for bodyguard
All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).