VIP Security – How can it be that the VIP’s car is stolen from in front of the hotel?

July 4, 2018 – 12:00 pm
by Miky Weinberg

Documented: The Military Attache in Europe was in a meeting – and the official state car was stolen

The driver and the Israeli security guard waited outside of the running car.  The thief took advantage of the opportunity and made off with the luxury Audi.

On Monday, July 2nd, 2018, the above item appeared in the media, including a video recording the moment of the car theft and the first reactions of the security guard and the driver, who were nearby (in front of the hotel – the seam):

 

The videotaped event gives us an additional opportunity to explain what we can, regarding the work of a personal bodyguard.  The protected personality, the Military Attache in a European country, is holding a meeting in a hotel that is apparently drawing to a close.  One can see in the video that the personality’s car is already situated at the entrance to the hotel heading in the right direction, the driver and the guard are also in front of the hotel (defined in security terms as the seam – the area between the hotel’s exit door and the car).  Just before the theft, we see the guard walking on the sidewalk and at a certain point a man holding a coat walks past him, after which the guard is seen moving ahead and standing with the driver and the protected person, all standing together on the sidewalk behind the car.  The moment of the theft: the three are still standing and talking, the thief approaches the car from the direction of the opposite sidewalk, pauses for a few seconds next to the driver’s door, nonchalantly enters the car, and drives away about three seconds later.  It appears that the driver is the first to realize that something is happening with the car. He alerts the guard, who starts running forward, apparently shouting something to the driver.

It was later learned that the luxury car was neutralized by the Audi company by remote control and was found abandoned in the Muslim neighborhood.

I, personally, think that very few people would think of the possibility that someone would come and steal the car from under the noses of the guard and the driver, but at the same time it should be noted that the decision to leave the car open with the keys inside and stand with one’s back to the car turned out to be a miserable decision.  It wouldn’t be right to merely chalk it up to stupidity on the part of the guard and the driver, because then we won’t learn from the event, and also because I’m sure the guard and the driver aren’t really stupid.

A professional error like that could arise from disbelief that anything could happen or as a result of personal fatigue or a combination of the two.

In personal security, single-guard security is considered challenging and difficult and requires a high level of decision-making ability, especially regarding the guard’s position relative to the VIP’s position and the possible threats at any given moment.  The guard is responsible only for the personality’s safety, taking into consideration all the means and personnel at his disposal for seeing the threats and finding the best possible response. The concept of field security sends the bodyguard to guard the personality at the point of arrival at the hotel, on the route he walks from the car to the room where the meeting takes place, throughout the meeting, on the exit route to the car, and in the car until it begins to move and leaves the area. The characteristics of the protected person’s actions will affect the process of threat analysis carried out by the guard. Activity defined as patterned (repetitive activity) expands the list of possible threats against the personality as opposed to activity that isn’t patterned, which will shorten the list of threats.  In both cases, the guard will be required to suit the level of the response to the level of the threat, considering every place the personality will be – the car, the seam, the route within the hotel, and the meeting room.

Since we’re dealing with single-guard level security, the guard is defined as the first and last circle of protection before reaching the protected person.  Therefore as a rule the guard will remain in close proximity to the personality, unless there’s a very good reason for him to leave in order to carry out a security action elsewhere.

It should be clear that in the event that the personality in question uses the same hotel for meetings, his activity is considered a pattern, so the guard has to be sure to stay close to him or her at all times, while using the driver for surveillance of the car as a security response to possible actions by the threatening party.

In personal security, the driver is part of the security arrangement, especially when the level of security is single-guard, so he must keep in mind his responsibility for everything connected to the personality’s car – its maintenance, appearance, and security – as a part of the general security arrangement. A professional operative driver must understand that when he remains in the area of activity, he must be sure to maintain constant surveillance of the car. At the point before departure, as in the event in question, he should be seated in his place in the car.  If the driver had worked according to the principles of his job as the driver of a secured personality, the thief wouldn’t have thought to try stealing the car. The operational error of the guard was that he didn’t make sure that the driver would be seated in the car at the time that the personality exited the hotel as an emergency precaution.  I wouldn’t rush to criticize the guard for the theft of the car because the driver wasn’t sitting in it, but I would criticize him for not being on full operational alert.  The car plays a very important role at the stage where the personality goes out to the car, as witnessed by the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Every security guard, especially a personal bodyguard, must remember that every security principle that isn’t adhered to fully causes a security gap that may become known to an adversary who is brave enough to take advantage of it to attempt to harm the personality or to carry out some other action, such as stealing his fancy official state car.

 

Remember, security must be achieved by gaining complete control over everything that happens under your jurisdiction.

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