The Week, February 2016 edition titled “Inside the World of VIP Bodyguards” makes an effort to highlight significance of Executive Protection Agents in ensuring risk mitigation and protection for executives and VIPs. IIRIS’ MD and CEO (Mr. Garry Singh and Ms. Sagarika Chakraborty respectively), who specialise in providing suave, high-end, discreet and non-obtrusive security to visiting global CEOs provided inputs that form the backbone of the article by sharing expert views pertaining to a modern day bodyguard.
The obligation of a security professional to render immaculate risk cover to his company leadership is being confronted by the ever-dynamic risk environment of India. The executives can face challenged linked with safety, undue media intervention, reputation loss etc.
The duo from IIRIS speak about providing suave protection to corporate/media personalities using UV locks, GPS tracking and advanced apps that have changed the concept of executive protection. The article focuses on their views pertaining to enhanced security threats (including strategic and operational risks) that the executives face owing to their exposure and increasing nature of competition and how the same can be prevented and addressed through a well-planned risk cover.
“Chakraborty laments that whatever little people know about security comes from TV shows such as CID or Savdhaan India. “Do you know karate or taekwondo?” are queries she often gets. In her line of work, she says, it is all about prevention which involves “strategy, analytics, intelligence and responding fast in terms of getting your client out of a danger zone”. The demand for female executive protection or EP agents is not more than 4 per cent but many times, women executives travelling to India or partners of CEOs prefer to be protected by the same gender.”
“High-end security agencies are extremely thorough and take all manner of preventive measures to protect their clients. Advanced techniques are used to sanitise rooms before the client comes. Sometimes UV locks, where the lock code is in the form of a signature using an ultraviolet pen, are used to ensure extra protection. Boardrooms and meeting areas are pre-swept and made free of transmission bugs. Laser guns can regenerate sound signals and send messages so the insulation in between windows and the thickness of the curtain cloth shading them are inspected before the meeting takes place.
Sometimes, the clients brief them about the threats and potential dangers that they are worried about, says Singh. “At such times, we try to simulate an attack by trying to find out all the information we can about the client through the internet and also by doing surveillance on him.”
“CEOs can be quite temperamental too. Singh knows one who never travels to India without a satellite phone and his personal ropes in case he has to rappel down during an emergency. Then there are others who insist on booking their room in a particular wing of the hotel which they feel is safer. Things can get even more bizarre. Chakraborty was once asked by a female guest at a party to spy on a particular man and furnish her with details of everyone he spoke to that evening.”