Not without a CPO

A minister can no longer go to his/her work by bicycle alone and the millionaire woman is shopping under supervision of a Close Protection Officer(CPO). The "bodyguard" is more and more needed for the personal protection.

Seven student Close Protection Officers (CPO) gaze over the parking lot with a stern look. While five of them are strategically positioned so that they can monitor their sector of the environment, the team captain and the student CPO guide their cliënt to the vehicle. Halfway an aggressive man runs towards him screaming. "What are you doing here?" The tall, student turns around and fends off the attacker, while the other students, after some hasitation, rush to help him.
"What have we learned now?" Mr Huizinga, the teacher of more than 150 CPO's, is angry.
The attack may have come unexpectedly, but they should have intervened much earlier.  "It's the job of student B," he says with the voice of a disappointed schoolmaster, "to lead the cliënt safely to the car as quickly as possible. Not him, but the others should have stopped the attacker. But you are there to look at all together, instead of correcting the error and quickly taking over the protection of the cliënt from aspirant B."
"The in and exit car procedure must be way better" says Mr. Huizinga, once a bodyguard from Pim Fortuyn, the American former vice-president Al Gore and many other known and unknown clients.
In the this training case, the cliënt was played by the photographer of Intermediair and the attacker by Mr. X.
It is an exercise, but the students are being tackled firmly.

More and more Close protection Officers needed.
Pity is not necessary. It is multidimensional work and a qualified CPO is well paid for the risk he / she takes on the job. Besides, the right CPO with the riht qualities is almost certain of a job.
The request for CPO's is explosively. How many CPO's are working in and outside the Netherlands is yet unknown. There are at least a few dozen companies offering it, which by the way, do not all have the right qualifications given by the Ministry of Justice.

International Security & Protection Services provides, Nationally and Internationally, only qualified and experienced CPO's. Directors of multinationals, well-known personalities and wealthy persons are increasingly guarded. Recent events, such as the kidnapping of Reinier Terwindt, descendant from a family of Brick manufacturers, and the attack on Roel Pieper and who does not know the kidnapping of Mr. Heineken, are the reason for many known and unknown wealthy people who were not yet protected to to take measures.
Even though it costs them thousands of euros per month, they still have to spend more on ransom money.
There is not only more protection, but also more and higher intensive protection.
According to the certified CPO's private sector, they are not alowed to carry a weapon in the Netherlands without the correct permits. Besides tis they will do everything they can do to protect their client.
Mr. X even had one one of his 'Quote-500 clients' stage a kidnapping of the children to test the CPO. This with the permission of the parents, but without the knowledge of their childeren.

More security with the government.
The number of Close Protection Officers is not only growing in the private sector. After the attacks of September 11the and especially after the murder of Pim Fortuyn, the government started to monitor politicians more actively.
When he is in office, Balkenende is rarely seen without two or three CPO's. That seems logical, but for the Netherlands it is relatively new. Wim Kok still walked fairly unprotected on the street, he told the committee who investigating Fortuyn's security. "Only in very exceptional cases am I protected in such a way that there was actually physical protection," Since the murder of Fortuyn on May 6, 2002, this is unthinkable.

During the elections of 15 May and the months after, the prime minister and other coverment leaders got protection.
There where a lot of threats. The departed PvdA leader Ad Melkert was sent a loaded gun. Paul Rosenmöller of GroenLinks was threatened of his entire family with death. The family could no longer take a step without CPO's. The children went to school under high protection, to play with friends or to go the sports club. The extra work caused the Royal Dutch and Diplomatic Security Service (DKDB), which has to carry out most of the security assignments, to face many problems. There was simply not enough manpower. Because since the attacks of September 11, 2001, a significant portion of the people had already been engaged in the surveillance of embassies and diplomats.
For example, the American ambassador Clifford Sobel is permanently surrounded by five men out of fear of terrorist attacks and, according to the CPO's, he must "warn 15 minutes in advance"

Not enaugh qualified Close Protection Officers.
The already under a lot of pressure services, part of the National Police Force, had to call on the regular Police forces after the murder of Fortuyn. In a short while, a number of detectives received a short course CPO and some trainings with a weapon.
Mr. X also received a request to deliver qualified CPO's.
The police magazine published advertisements in which (former) police officers were sought to come to work full- or part-time for service again.
The DKDB has since then more additional CPO positions. On the question on how many people there are involved, the service could not tell us.
You would expect that the security of the ministers is now better then before, but Hamelers has his doubts about it.
Not about the quality of the DKDB'ers or the Marechaussee personnel, but about the police officers who where called in.
'It's a specialty". A day of training wont be enough for most detectives and policeman. The speciality of a Close Protection Officers start with a lot of discipline," he says.
According to Hamelers, the police have lacked discipline in recent years. "They can't even dress uniformly." The fact that two weeks ago an 'attack' on prime minister Balkenende was prevented at an early stage, doens't mean anything to him.
'I was particularly surprised that the prime minister still lives in a semi-detached house in a Vinex neighborhood.
I don't know the situation of the place, but I can imagine it. A hell of a place to protect, "says Hamelers. "If you want to do a surveillance, there is not enough parking space available where you can have a good overview." Hamelers, former officer of the Royal Dutch Marechaussee, is annoyed by unprofessional securityguards. He may criticize the government, but it is much worse in the private sector. Close Protection in the Netherlands is still building up. To many CPO's forget or don't follow the most basic rules to start with.

Mr. X also thinks that companies to often are unconcerned (or ignorantly) with the safety of their top people in this business.
'A lot of secretary answer the question over the phone and do tell where her boss is at that moment. And every day he drives the same road from home to work without having different road." Hamelers believes that the quality of many Close Protection Officers is also poignant. 'Those guys you see on TV with famous Dutch people.

Bouncers with copper wire around their neck and iron in their ears. Many of those bouncers do not have the right diploma's to be able to work. They are more likely to provoke aggression than to prevent it. You see that happening a lot at bouncers at discotheeks. "That kind of macho is not the result of our training."
The CPO knows his client in and out, a good CPO remains at low level. It is also not nearly as spectacular a job as it sometimes seems to be. Most of the time a CPO is spending his/her time to explor a location.
How safe is the restaurant where the client wants to go to? Where are the toilets? Are there traffic jams or are there events in the city that make security more difficult? 'If a VIP goes abroad, the CPO will first make that journey himself. He makes arrangements with the Marechaussee at the airport. Go to the hotel, discuss the room and book the room directly in the opposite of the client.
A real CPO knows his client in and out, he/she knows the size of his underpants so to speak '. A CPO remains very low level. If the client is dressed casual, so is he/she. 'Employees of the Yugoslavia Tribunal often go to have a walk on the beach in a suit. The CPO is then dressed casual, so that he does not stand out among the rest of the beach guests ".

There are now two women in training. Female CPO's they are very popular with cliënt's.
There are more and more women in high positions. Shopping with two big guys can be annoying for a female cliënt and for her husband. A CPO must be able to only talk to the client but also be able to talk about the situation in the world. This is also important to be able to estimate the risks of the client and the surroundings.
It is handy that he or she also knows where, for example, Oman is located, what the capital is and who is in charge when he goes there with the client. "


Bron: Intermediair 2003

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