Security drivers are, more often than not, seen as a luxury or ostentatious expense to an organisation. Many people have the opinion that a security driver is only used by wealthy individuals who wish to flaunt their wealth. This is a false perception, even though a security driver is an extra expense, a security driver is a vital asset to any organisation.

What is a security driver?

It is a common misconception that a security driver and a chauffeur are the same thing. There are vast differences between the two.

By definition, a chauffeur is a person employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, especially a luxury vehicle such as a large sedan or limousine. They’re simply an individual who will transport you wherever you need to be.

While a security driver is someone who will also transport you where you need to be, there is so much more to their role than just that. Briefly, a security driver:

  • Thoroughly inspects the vehicle to ensure safe operation
  • Conducts any necessary vehicle maintenance
  • Uses defensive and evasive driving to keep you safe
  • Conducts foot patrol and surveillance
  • Conducts a thorough assessment of the route and area beforehand

There are additional skills that executive protection officers and security drivers need to have, these are known as soft skills.   

Soft skills

Soft skills are less tangible and harder to quantify. These are often overlooked as simply the characteristics of an individual and therefore excluded from many executive protection courses.

These characteristics include:

  • Etiquette
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Patience
  • Persuasion
  • Problem solving abilities
  • Time management
  • Work ethic
  • Listening and engaging in small talk

Security Driver Responsibilities

A security driver is thoroughly trained and has a broad set of skills that combines evasive and defensive driving training, vehicle safety inspection and maintenance, foot patrol and surveillance. Before embarking with the principal on any scheduled trip (either a close trip or abroad), the driver will thoroughly inspect the vehicle, assuring it’s safe and clean. The number of vehicles and drivers will vary depending on the level of risk or environment. A low-risk client may just have one vehicle, whereas a high-level individual may require additional cars to form a fleet that will flank the principal’s vehicle.

Security driver candidates must:

  • hold a valid driving license
  • be well-trained
  • have impeccable communication and written skills
  • be well presented and well spoken
  • maintain an air of professionalism at all times

Security drivers also have to have continuous training to ensure they keep abreast with new technology and new security methods.  

The duties of a security driver are much more involved than that of a chauffeur. Security driver duties include:

  • Vehicle patrol of exterior areas of given locations
  • Foot patrol of interior/exterior areas of given locations
  • Surveillance and reporting any suspicious activities and persons
  • Proactive response to any emergency situation
  • Enforcement of procedures and rules for the safe transportation of the principal
  • Car fleet management and upkeep

Perk or prerequisite to a business?

As noted earlier, security drivers can offer much more than high-performance vehicle manipulation, particularly in unfamiliar locations far from home.

For example, properly-trained security drivers typically engage in pre-mission planning that ensures they avoid risk in the first place. In addition, the drivers have access to ongoing oversight and threat monitoring tools that allow them to maintain situational awareness, even while driving. Those with medical training are able to provide care to travellers experiencing emergency symptoms while on the road.

Beyond that, the way security drivers can support their executives’ time and productivity on the road should be considered as part of the organisation’s broader asset protection program. For top executives, time is money – and that’s even true while they’re in the car. Because a security driver is better able to avoid disruptive situations, there are likely to be fewer distractions or interruptions in transit that could derail productivity or result in costly itinerary changes.

The adequate protection of your employees is your legal obligation as part of their duty of care. A security driver will ensure the safety of your employees. There is also a return on investment (ROI) to a security driver. We say this because, replacing the time lost, replacing the loss of a valuable employee and internal know-how is huge. By protecting your employees, you are protecting your entire organisation from immeasurable loss.

A security driver is not a fancy addition to your company. It is a valuable asset that will have a long-term return on investment that you will regret not having. Contact us for more information on our secure travel management or the other services we offer.  

The scary truth behind violent attacks related to taxi services

Travel safety is a genuine no matter who you are. But for C-suite individuals and executives, driving yourself to important meetings or to the airport isn’t always feasible or safe which is when secure transport services become a necessity. Finding a service that is convenient, reliable, cost-effective and safe is not as simple as it sounds. It is difficult to find a company that can tick all of your boxes and meet your requirements. Travel safety

Recently, services like Uber and Taxify have become a popular choice but often these services infringe on your travel safety. These apps are an easy and convenient way for virtually anyone to find a mode of transportation whenever they need it – it’s simply a click away. But what happens when convenience becomes catastrophic?

Attacks on Uber/Taxify Drivers

Travel safety

As the popularity of these services grow, so does the threat on their competition. This has caused a dangerous ripple effect where Uber and Taxify drivers have been subjects of horrific hate crimes. Reports indicate that competitor taxi services attack Uber or Taxify drivers to scare them into not operating anymore.

This is a means of ensuring they are the only taxi service on the market. These taxi services usually don’t have an app that makes it convenient for any individual to find them and quickly make a booking. The attack on taxi drivers is a terrifying prospect for their passengers who simply want to get to their destination in a safe and timely manner. Now you’re always unsure as to whether your taxi will be under attack or not. For C-suite individuals, this uncertainty of if your driver will be attacked or not is incredibly daunting. A c-suite individual may have more to offer an attacker than just a scare tactic on the driver.

Driver orchestrated attacks

 Not only do passengers have to worry if their drivers will be under attack but crime reports have also stated that many attacks are orchestrated by the Uber/Taxify drivers themselves. When a potential driver signs up to become an Uber or Taxify driver, they’re supposed to go through a thorough vetting process.

Background checks, safety screenings and driver competency tests are supposed to be done but it seems that sometimes a snake slithers through the cracks. Reports have shown that there’s often someone hiding in the boot of the car before you get in. The driver will then take you to a different location and both individuals will attempt to rob you of your valuables or get you to withdraw money from your bank account.

Often these attacks are more malicious where women are reported to have been sexually assaulted. Countless reports have indicated that c-suite individuals are the most vulnerable, especially when travelling to the airport. Sometimes the blame for these attacks cannot be put directly on the taxi service.

Some opportunistic criminals have caught on to the idea of pretending to be taxi drivers to lure potential victims in. Not only this, but these taxi drivers have also caught onto a new trend. Most of the time, these drivers fetch you directly from your house, they have your address, they know what your home looks like and now they know that no one is home.

For wealthier individuals, the luxuries they’re able to afford themselves become prevalent to the driver. They will take the opportunity to go back to your home, sometimes with their friends, and will break in and steal whatever they can. The risk on your life, your family and your possessions is too great for you to use these taxi services.

How to ensure you travel safely

There are some things you can do to ensure you are safe while travelling with one of these taxi services. These include;

  • Check the car registration matches with the registration on the app
  • Make sure the driver’s picture and the name is the same as the person picking you up
  • Ask the driver to repeat your name to you
  • Check the boot of the vehicle before getting in
  • Clearly state where you want to go and ensure the route is adhered to
  • Don’t let them come straight to your front door
  • Give your Uber driver an honest rating at the end of the ride – not everyone deserves 5 stars

The safest option for c-suite and executive individuals would be to contact an executive security company to assist you with safe and secure travel management.

Secure travel management

The ultimate way of ensuring your safety is to have us handle your vehicle travel arrangements. Our deep understanding of the areas, situations and threats place us in a unique position. We are able to provide a secure environment for our clients.Travel safety The secure travel solutions we offer begin with a clear understanding of the type of travel you require.

Whether it be business or leisure, the risks associated with the location and other elements of the itinerary will be identified and analysed. We accomplish this by conducting a country assessment and risk analysis. Specific travel planning and contingencies are based on this analysis. Some of our solutions available include pre-travel advance work, secure journey management and personnel tracking.

Secure airport transfers

Airport transfers can become one of the most challenging elements in a planned trip. This can be due to increased criminal activity, political unrest or logistical requirements. We provide Secure airport transfers as well as permanent security drivers. This will give you peace of mind while you travel in either high-risk areas or unfamiliar routes. Our highly trained drivers will ensure you arrive at your destination safely. 

Contact us and let us handle your vehicular travel needs to ensure your travel safety. We are inconspicuous and will ensure you reach your destination without a hitch.

How you can prevent it happening to you while travelling abroad

We all know the movie version of this serious crime – big screen action films like Taken, with Liam Neeson touch on the dangers of it in true Hollywood fashion. But the reality of the matter is that of the millions of lives affected by human trafficking, there was a global statistic of only 14,894 trafficking prosecutions and 9,071 convictions in 2016. It is something that unfortunately does not have the happy ending with a hero that comes to save the day, and the bad guys don’t get caught.

This worldwide problem affects men, women and children of all ages, and the horrific crimes can be likened to a form of modern slavery. With the trafficking numbers increasing every year, being aware of the problem is only half the battle. While many different organisations are currently working towards solving the issue, what can you do to ensure your own safety from this heinous crime?

Who are the biggest targets?

With an estimated 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, the biggest targets generally fall into these categories:

  • Children under the age of 18 induced into commercial sex
  • Adults (age 18 or over) induced into commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion
  • Children and adults induced to perform labour or services through force, fraud, or coercion

These victims are not all hidden away behind closed doors, some are kept in plain sight – but due to the lack of social awareness are not discovered by the general public. There is no general profile for victims, they range from a number of different economic backgrounds, education levels and ethnicities. While this crime can affect anyone, there are a few factors that can make you more vulnerable such as:

  • Poverty and homelessness
  • Addictions and dependencies
  • Poor mental health and understanding
  • Online vulnerability
  • Travel to unknown places and high-risk areas

Human trafficking and travel – what you need to know

Travel should be a fun and exciting venture, but the reality is that there are risks involved. When you travel to see the sights and experience new places, you make yourself vulnerable by stepping outside of your norm. You are also isolated from others you know and trust and these barriers can make you an easier target.

People who travel alone are especially at risk of kidnappings, such as backpackers, people travelling for business and volunteers. They are also isolated from others they know and trust, and these barriers make them easier targets.

Human traffickers often pose as helpful strangers, or someone offering an irresistible opportunity. Be sceptical of all strangers and know that when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Other than putting your guard up, here are some tips for staying safe while travelling:

How can you keep yourself safe?

If you are travelling sometime soon, and especially in high-risk areas, there are a few things you’ll need to consider, plan and be aware of during this time:

  • Be prepared and informed before visiting a destination
  • Research and understand the areas known to be unsafe
  • Don’t ever knowingly put yourself in a dangerous situation
  • Try to avoid walking around alone at night or with strangers
  • Carry pepper spray if you can
  • Be a difficult target – someone who is aware of their surroundings and confident
  • Lock car and home doors as soon as you get inside
  • Be suspicious of attractive work opportunities and volunteer work – check out the validity of companies, initiatives and groups
  • Never give your passport/ documents to anyone except for airport security officials at security points
  • Check with family and friends for advice on travel plans

It may seem overwhelming to double check and consider every safety possibility before travelling, but the real question you should ask yourself is – am I willing to risk my life? If you would like some more advice on safe travel or feel your travel plans would fare better with the use of a protection solution, contact us today.

Crime continues to evolve in South Africa each and every day. Its consequences reach all aspects of life, from crippling our economy to jeopardising a high standard of living. South Africans have had to put safety measures in place to ensure their own security, such as home alarm systems, electric fences and surveillance cameras. But what happens when our security is compromised on the roads? During our daily commute or on the occasion of business or leisure travel, we take to the streets unprotected and vulnerable.

It goes without saying that the roads and highways pose a threat to safety. Organised crime only adds to the potential dangers. Hijacking and theft are common, but another type of violent and organised crime is a persisting issue in our country. Cash-in-transit vans are currently extremely high-risk targets for robbery.

The Recent Cash-Heist Spike

cash heist

Source: https://bit.ly/2vujClG

What are cash-heists? An organised group of criminals plan and execute a robbery of a cash-in-transit van. These criminals use explosive devices to gain access to its contents and are often armed to intimidate and control the drivers. These crimes can result in shoot-outs between the robbers and the police. There have already been many injuries and fatalities surrounding these crimes. This has become an epidemic that negatively affects the economy, and the safety of everyday South Africans.

Why Is This Crime Increasing?

The cash-heists are not a simple case of opportunistic crime. They are well-planned operations organised by crime syndicates and are increasing due to easy access to explosive devices. This illegal supply of explosives, coupled with corruption in areas surrounding the police department is the source of the spike. The meticulous planning often includes a “finger-man” or someone on the inside, that knows the details of truck routes and proceedings. They can tell the group exactly when and where the van will be, and how much money the van will hold. The crime is seen as lucrative, with low risk and a high reward.   

The Dangers Involved

cash heist

Source: https://bit.ly/2M0qNfu

What are the risks to you as a resident or traveller in South Africa? These crimes happen on the major roads and highways, sometimes even in broad daylight. The risks of getting caught in the middle are too significant to ignore. The explosions themselves send flying debris, a blast strong enough to rip through the thick metal of the vehicles. Shootouts pose a distinct threat because of the gunshots that get fired. Just recently at a cash-heist in Pretoria on the 28th of July, a security guard was shot and wounded. If you are nearby a shootout when it happens, stray bullets are potentially life-threatening.

Further still, the increase in cash heists has caused a nation-wide strike by cash-in-transit security officers. The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) have warned that this strike could cause an economic crisis. But despite the implications, they claim that the cash-in-transit heists have become a  pandemic, increasing by 105% in just 3 years. Strikes also pose a greater threat to public safety – for more on this topic click here.  

What Can You Do To Stay Safe?

While you can’t avoid travelling entirely, there are some things you can do on your commute to ensure your own safety:

 

  • Check your route before driving to ensure no blockages
  • Listen to the news on the radio, television, or subscribe to breaking news online to be the first to hear about a cash-heist in your area
  • Avoid areas entirely if there is any criminal activity
  • Look out for warning signs on your route such as sounds of gunshots, people running, vehicles stopped in the middle of the road, etc.
  • If you do find yourself near a situation, look for a way out immediately
  • Remain calm, and don’t be concerned about your possessions – damage to your property is far less important than your life
  • Don’t stop to look or get out of your car, keep moving – windows and doors do not offer protection against gunfire
  • Don’t attempt to be a hero and stop the proceedings in any way, instead get out of the way immediately and call for help

 

In the case of business executives and VIP’s, you may feel ensuring your own safety isn’t a viable option. When your responsibilities to your work are compromised because of security concerns, you might consider executive protection. Putting your safety in the hands of trained professionals will provide uncompromised safety, and give you peace of mind.

Want to learn more about additional methods of ensuring your safety on the roads with the use of executive protection? Read our article on the benefits of secure travel.