When it comes to ensuring the safety and security of both an organisation and its employees, effective corporate risk management is crucial. With numerous potential risks from both internal and external sources, threat mitigation can help to avoid possibly serious and damaging consequences.
While internal security is an essential part of this, the risk to an enterprise and its people can escalate when individuals, particularly executives, travel outside of their organisation. That’s why the G4S Corporate Risk Services team in North America has developed a range of close personal protection and travel risk services, which are designed to optimise individual safety.
These include everything from travel risk management, airport transfers and travel tracking, support and technology to workplace violence mitigation, special event management and personal protection agents, as well as protective programme development and training.
A number of our customers travel to Latin America, which is home to 42 of the 50 most violent cities in the world.
Executive Vice President, G4S Corporate Risk Services
Building a complete service
“Business travel can be a concerning scenario,” said Robert Dodge, Executive Vice President at G4S Corporate Risk Services. “Individuals are away from home and outside of their normal work facility and access control environment when in a foreign country with potentially higher risks, including violent crime. A number of our customers travel to Latin America, which is home to 42 of the 50 most violent cities in the world.”
But violent crime is just the tip of the iceberg. “We use the term travel risk management because it’s broader than actual physical threats, such as kidnapping, carjacking or bodily harm,” explained Dodge. The services cover transportation accidents, medical issues, corporate espionage, time delays and inconveniences, as well as regulatory, political and diplomatic issues, such as visas and entry laws, which could jeopardise a customer’s travel schedule.
“We cover the North American market, but take care of customers globally,” said Dodge. “A lot of companies have people in constant motion, travelling in and out of different countries, so they’re increasingly concerned about travel risks. The better we address these risks, the more value we add and the more we differentiate ourselves as a security provider.”
Executive protection is a very old profession, with attacks on famous leaders and executives dating back to Julius Caesar.
Executive Vice President, G4S Corporate Risk Services
To ensure a high quality end-to-end service, the team uses personnel on the ground in various regions to fulfil customers’ personal protection and travel risk requirements. “Historically to ensure we deliver the standard of service expected, we’ve used a mix of internal G4S agents and local, highly experienced and accredited sub-contractors, ” said Dodge. “Now, we want to bring everything internally, using personnel that are direct employees of G4S in most of the major markets we service.”
Sharing knowledge and expertise
To provide regional business units with the guidance, education and support they need to deliver these services, and to help foster collaboration across G4S, Corporate Risk Services has designed a bespoke training programme, which has already been successfully delivered in Mexico and Brazil.
The three-day programme is offered to employees that are hand-selected by individual country managers. The first two days of training focus on classroom learning, during which participants are provided with essential background information. “Executive protection is a very old profession,” explained Dodge. “We go through its history, from the Roman Praetorian Guard to the US Secret Service, and look at attacks on famous leaders and executives, dating back to Julius Caesar.”
Next, employees are taken through risk and threat assessment and executive protection principles, covering home, office, special event and travel security. This includes an overview of the capabilities expected of a good executive protection agent, such as planning, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, working under pressure, physical stamina, effective communication, medical knowledge, and firearm and unarmed control techniques.
Practical exercises are also provided to aid learning. “We show them the different recommended formations when walking with an executive, and how to scope out an area before an individual under protection arrives to make sure it is secure,” said Dodge.
The third day is dedicated to evasive and defensive driving training. Following a classroom-based session focused on driving best practice, safety, vehicle identification and care, route mapping and situational awareness, participants are taken to a driving track. The training in Mexico saw employees travel out to a site near Mexico City, while in Brazil personnel were taken to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace Formula 1 circuit in São Paulo.
“They have the opportunity to practice their driving skills and carry out manoeuvres such as J-turns,” said Dodge. “We show them how to ram a vehicle if there is one in the way, how to avoid a situation where a vehicle may try to trap you in, and how to escape if this were to happen.”
Technology is another important aspect of development and training. “We outline our technological capabilities and explain how the business units could leverage them to support customers,” said Dodge.
Corporate Risk Services uses the G4S Global Risk Intelligence Centre in North America as a communications hub to monitor protective agents in the field in real time, and deliver updates to management and customers. The centre offers international, multi-language hotline support to customers from over 100 different countries, as well as intelligence.
“The dashboards can pull in a huge range of electronic data from numerous sources,” explained Dodge. “This could include open source cameras and geospatial maps to plot the location of an individual, as well as news feeds, weather reports and social media channels.”
Updates are delivered directly to G4S security personnel or customers, depending on the arrangement, through an application on their phone that issues an alert. The dashboard technology uses keyword filtration, including area, time, date and topic, to filter out anything irrelevant, so the centre analysts consistently receive the most meaningful information.
“We are continuously improving how protective agents in the field communicate back to us via the centre,” said Dodge. “Agents are expected to provide updates at every stage of a customer’s trip, including collection and drop-off at airports and hotels, and every location in between. The information comes directly to us and we communicate it to the customer.”
Ultimately, Corporate Risk Services is aiming to further strengthen the capabilities of business units across Latin America. “It all comes down to sharing the knowledge, information and expertise that we as a global company have so much of.”