Being a close protection officer is a tough enough job as it is. A CPO will “shadow” a principal to keep them safe. Good close protection officers acquire skills like emergency medical assistance, advanced driving or surveillance. An expert in their field will have experience with every single one of these skills and more. Close protection officers also exhibit a wide range of soft skills that make the principal more comfortable, productive and efficient – saving them time and money. Most of the time, being a CPO means identifying and preventing threats before they become dangerous. However, in the event of a threat, a CPO needs to eliminate risk as much as possible.
With this, comes an understanding of the risk of violence and combat. Considering all these elements that make up an executive protector’s job description, you might have been picturing the stereotypical large male with a suit and sunglasses.
Now consider that this CPO is female. Does the role of a CPO change based on gender?
The Role of a Female Close Protection Officer
On the basic level of what a CPO does, the answer is no. The job remains the same in terms of protecting and shadowing the principal. Women undergo the same training; both physical and mental. Many women come from a background in law enforcement, making them experienced assets to a team. There are more women employed as police officers today than ever before. This law enforcement background makes them the perfect candidates for executive protection.
Yet, there is still a stigma attached to the idea. The truth is that female close protection officers can – in many ways, benefit the industry. From the perspective of a female close protection officer, here are some of the different questions worth considering:
Do women in close protection offer a unique approach?
A female CPO offers a unique perspective to the world of executive protection. This is not to say that this approach is better or worse, but rather just a different angle to solving the same problem. As a generalisation, female close protection officer’s tend to be less aggressive than their male counterparts. In hostile situations where men might take to combat more quickly, a female close protection officer is more inclined to talk their way out. Women often use negotiation and a deeper emotional understanding to minimise hostility. This approach requires advanced skills in patience, observation and quick thinking.
Can women cater to a gap in the market?
With this approach come different benefits. Some principals require the less invasive presence of a female CPO for situations where an “obvious” CPO might be inappropriate. For example, when a principal doesn’t want to draw attention to themselves a female close protection officer may be slightly less conspicuous. A female CPO could pass as a personal assistant or nanny. Being less conspicuous means the principal can go about their day as normally as possible. This also means an increase in productivity and efficiency.
The major gap in the market comes where protection is needed on a more delicate scale. For example, a less intimidating protection officer could be better suited for women or children. Some cultural beliefs prohibit women from having male CPO’s. Women can also follow their female principals into bathrooms or dressing rooms, where men can’t.
Is opportunity sometimes harder to find?
Even with this gap in the market, opportunities are sometimes rare. However, with so few women taking on the role of CPO, your competition for a very specific job is low. Therefore, when an opportunity does present itself, you could very well be the best person for the job. It is definitely a career with space for more women to invest in.
In addition to this, very few principals choose to utilise the services of a female close protection officer because they are unaware of the option.
Who is Suited to This Career?
So what makes a good CPO? Women who would be well suited to a career in executive protection are highly self-confident. They can think on their feet and are quick to observe and process. There is an element of physical fitness and self-defence, but with the right training and dedication, this is not a major issue for most women. It is a career for women who want a large amount of variety in their lives, with some travel opportunities and a constant change of pace.
Being a woman in executive protection in today’s world is not as challenging as some might feel. It is a career well suited to some and certainly one to consider.
Do you feel a female CPO would be better suited to you and your situation? Get in touch!