This is a great insight into the world of Close Protection, and what it is that Intelligent Limited is all about!
Q. Mr. Bomberg, what were some of your duties and functions when you were working with the Royal Family?
A. I am not able to discuss this, save to say that included travel with some members of the Royal Family.
Q. In your CTV (Canada TV) interview you touched on some differences between British and American close protection operations, could you expand on those differences?
A. British Close Protection is a lot more covert and often involves more protective surveillance. When you see the likes of Madonna with very large bodyguards pushing through crowds, this is not the UK style of close protection; but more of a “show” and not even a show of force. Most of those guys are so large that they might have a heart attack if they needed to act quickly or do any running!
The British Style of close protection is not a fashion statement; it is low profile close protection at its best. You might only see three or four close protection officers evident carrying out close protection; but what you don’t see is the command and control team, the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) or the Protective Surveillance Team. Put simply, the UK style of Close Protection is graceful and understated – but packs a punch.
Why use Protective Surveillance? The use of a Protective Surveillance Team means that anyone trying to target the principle is not aware of the size of the close protection team. The Protective Surveillance Team can mingle with any crowd, looking for threats and dealing with them quickly. Protective Surveillance Teams can also be used to carry out advance recces of sites.
Q. Could you touch on a few of the things that go into planning a close protection operation?
A. Planning close protection tasks can be very complex, liaison with police and government agencies, with hospitals and airlines etc. The hardest thing overall is being able to have a plan and a team that is dynamic and that can change to suit the needs of the client or to react to changes of threat. Intelligence is a very important part of planning any close protection task. What is the known threat to the client and his family? Can we counter any threats? Who might be interested in our client? Can we use diversionary tactics or propaganda to aid out tasks?
Intelligent Protection International Limited works very closely with International Intelligence Limited and Intelligent Armour Limited, companies within our group to enable us to provide the very best service to our client. The group structure enables us to provide the client with an all-round service from Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM Sweep) and Counter Intelligence, to Covert Body Armour for the client and his family if required. We are also able to provide courses like Defensive Driver Training to aid the client and his family and to educate them in defensive action should they be in the position where they have to react themselves.
Our close protection teams are made up of a number of individuals, our typical team for Royal protection would consist of:
Command and Control Team – (made up of Ex British SAS & Ex CO19 & Ex British Intelligence officers)
Team Leaders – (Ex British SAS Troopers)
Close Protection Team
Personal Protection Officers (Ex British SAS Troopers)
Protective Surveillance Team (Ex 14Int/Det & Ex SAS)
Transport & Logistics Team
Personal Drivers (Police & Special Forces Trained Drivers)
Intelligence & Counter Intelligence Team
TSCM Team (Ex British Intelligence)
Intelligence Gathering Officer (Ex British Intelligence)
Counter Surveillance Team (Ex 14Int/Det & Ex SAS)
The teams may also consist of Linguists and other specialist.
Q. What are some of the tools that are used on such mission? I am thinking along the lines of surveillance, counter intelligence as it applies to your communications and planning.
A. We use encrypted communications systems and coded voice procedure. We also have at our disposal jamming technology to jam radio signals other than our own. Enough said!
Q. I understand its hard to work in a crowd with an MP5 or an SA80, what are some of the weapons that your teams employ?
A. Armed Close Protection cannot be carried out by non-government teams in the UK . However, overseas, we make use of 9mm pistols such as H&K, Glock and Sig’s etc. but this is down to personal choice. We also issue personal stun and distraction grenades and Taser type stun devices.
Q. It looks like the Intelligent Group offers everything from hats and boots to training and security details. What are some of the challenges you face running such an organisation?
A. While Intelligent (UK Holdings) Limited group may not be the largest group of its type, we offer our clients bespoke services. All of the products and services that we offer as a group overlaps and one service can be enhanced by another product or service from one of the other companies in the group. Personnel who work for Intelligent (UK Holdings) Limited group often find themselves working for more than one company in the group. Some of our former SAS Operatives work for all four operational companies, from Surveillance and Protection, to giving lectures or tactical product demonstrations and testing.
Being the 100% owner of the group means that the buck stops with me. Its very hard work and demanding; one moment I will be on international TV giving an interview on Royal Protection, the next moment I could be meeting clients covertly in a shitty car park in Paris or meeting Intelligent Armour clients on airsoft sites in some wet and damp woods someplace.
Its not all TV and aftershave, more often than not, its paperwork and sweat!
Q. How has the protection industry evolved over the last 5 years both domestic ( UK ) and abroad?
A. In the UK , the close protection industry used to be mainly the preserve of former Special Forces and Police, it was hard to break in to, to make contacts to get on unless you were outstanding and your face fitted. These days with Iraq and Afghanistan , people do a CP course with some company that you have never heard of, then start applying for jobs! Sadly the SIA who oversee the CP Industry in the UK have made matters worse, not better. The course standards are far too low, not enough is covered and the courses are far too short. That said, some training providers are at the top of there game and are doing a great job of providing training that is tough and realistic. Ronin South Africa is one of these companies.
Blokes getting out of the army do a course is a back street CP training provider then think that just because they pass and get there SIA badge, that they are good enough for companies like mine. This is not the case. Across the board, we only take the very best guys, and girls, for our tasks.
Q. How much of an impact did the Blackwater incident have on the way you conducted missions overseas?
A. None to us. Blackwater and many of the companies like them were way out of hand. At the time many of the CP firms were taking on anyone and no-one really cared too much about anything, they lacked professionalism and ethics.
Q. Looking at Intelligent Armor, are you seeing any significant or emerging trends in the tactical industry?
A. A lot more people are moving away from a lot of the larger brands and looking at what is available, its becoming far more clique.
Q. Has your training division ever done or is planning to do any training State Side?
A. No, we do not carry out training in the USA . We work worldwide for the likes of the UN, banks, Embassies, security firms and oil corporations. The US State Department are a client of ours, can’t say what we do for them though….
Q. What do you think the future holds for the tactical and protection industry?
A. For us, we are looking at developing products that are lightweight, value for money and that are adaptable/compatible; like the development of our MACH range of helmets with Ops-Core rails and VAS Shrouds.
Thanks to Mr. Bomberg again for taking the time to do this interview. Its people like Mr. Bomberg and his organisation that keeps the wolves at bay!
Below you will find links to the parent groups website as well as Intelligent Armour’s web store.
Written by Scott Bain.