What kind of a security business leader are you?

Over the last 10 years, I have written a few hundred articles and granted interviews related to protective work within our industry. I have almost always addressed topics of interest from the perspective of a Close Protection Operative or directed advice or opinions toward the CPO.

As threats change with the times, the topics of discussion must change and occasionally we have to address an old topic from a fresh perspective. This article is directed to the security company Owner or Manager and addresses a more mundane yet equally important topic: INTEGRITY.

What many company owners and managers will tell you they are looking for when hiring someone to work for them (and represent their companies), is loyalty, dedication, hard-working, punctual, positive attitude, team player, ethical, honest, law abiding, professional. It shouldn’t be surprising but many employees are looking for the same qualities in a company’s top leaders.

Most of us as Managers, CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, or other Owners fail to remember that when our company is awarded a contract and we hire people to work for us, our organization’s integrity is judged by, and dependent upon our employees.  So as important as they are to us, why did they suddenly resign?

Most successful protection organizations are managed by company Owners, Managers or CEOs who have been operatives at some point in their careers, so it should be hard to understand how they would neglect their employees, but it does happen all the times, and I do understand.

Below I will try to point out some issues that allow for a toxic work environment for both employers and employees which lead to turn over and poor loyalty.

Each company has its own vision and goal. The question is: are you as the creator or guardian of that vision as loyal to it today as you were on day one? Are you loyal to the people who work for you, to what your company represents, to the profession? Or are you ‘’bending’’ your own work ethic or clouding your company’s vision for that monthly check? Great operatives sometimes work for organizations that have cut corners, lagged behind in paying their employees, failed to support their employees, siding instead with the client, and forcing employees to quit before it was time to give them a raise. If you think that your employees won’t quit and inform everyone they know (including your competitors), about your conduct, you are wrong.

Are you on time with your responsibilities toward the people that work for you? Are they getting paid for their working hours/days expenses and benefits on time? “I HAVEN’T BEEN PAID BY THE CLIENT YET” is not an excuse for not paying your operatives on time. Operating a business and hiring people means you have a specific amount of capitol you must set aside to insure payroll. Failing to achieve payroll independence probably means you are mismanaging your profits and maybe your company. Do you return phone calls promptly? Do you promise performance raises at 6 months of employment and then wait for the employee to beg you for it at 7 months?

Are you honest regarding employment contracts? There are companies who practice “Shadow Contracting”, which uses two sets of terms: one for the clients and one for the operatives. The difference between the two are the services promised to the client within the terms of service and what the operative believes they are signing up for in pay, working conditions, risk and support. In most cases, the client is unaware of this.

Additionally, when you hire a CPO, you informed them about the initial threat assessment, so until they get their foot in the door and deal in real time with the client and his environment and do their own assessment they have to rely on what you know. As we know, in our line of work, the threat level is, in part, what sets the cost for our services. Some organizations will not inform an operative of the real threat level in order to pay the operative less.

Are you a law abiding professional? Unfortunately we have seen people with criminal records running security businesses or Managers who don’t mind hiring employees who have prior problems with the law or regulatory authorities, who add them to their company administration or to their CP teams.

These decisions initially affect the CP effort but quickly destroy the trust and loyalty in the organization as a whole and eventually the Client relationship.

Are you a team player? I have heard the phrase “I want you to see our company as your family”, many times.  This is a hollow statement because:

  • They already have a family.
  • They are usually under a contract with a time limit
  • They will never feel like family when your family and friends are in all of the key positions or in charge of the operations.

As a business owner, manager or CEO you have to think ahead and take care of your people. Some contracts require assignments in distant cities or other countries. Those people, who work for you, protect your client and basically make money for you and are away from their homes and families, possibly in a different culture, unfriendly country or in a domestic environment which tests their patience, fidelity, fitness and temperament.  Are you focusing on what the CP needs to succeed 20 or 30 or 60 or 90 days into their assignment? Are you watching for complacency and prepared to replace or rotate your CPO’s if complacency or boredom becomes apparent? Did you remember to add this possibility in the client’s contract and explain that the CPO the client starts with may not be the one they end up with?

Do you regularly check to insure that your CPO’s do not exceed 10 hours a day in service and that they receive proper time for rest or rehabilitation or training or fitness? Did you put these terms into the contract? Did you secure a retainer?

Recently, I was made aware of a female CPO that took an assignment in a country she had not worked in before. She took the assignment with a signed contract which she was awarded because of her experience working with and protecting children. She was promised a weekly bi-weekly paycheck, time off, 10 hour days, clothing, food, lodging, travel and other allowance “reimbursements” and was furnished equipment. Within 30 days, she was behind 2 paychecks, out of personal money due to not being reimbursed, was working 18 hours a day, was being berated daily by the client’s wife, not allowed to discipline or correct a spoiled child and was not accustomed to the local exotic diet which was her only source of food, resulting in her being sick and under nourished much of the time she was in the country.  Additionally, she was not able to leave once she decided to do so and had to work an additional 4 months before finally being paid an adequate amount of money to allow her to “escape”. She has not yet been paid the balance of what is owed her and has no legal means of demanding or recovering her earnings. The company is still in business and continues its practices. It has no loyalty and the internet is now peppered with negative comments about it.

If you see fallacies in your corporate hiring and management practices or are experiencing a high turnover in CPO’s or your management staff, spend some money on a private consultant. They can evaluate your practices for far less than what you are losing in lost contracts and overtime or training costs due to employee turn-over. Having the right people working for your company and stay with you for a long time is the best investment you can do.

End f the day, while you are running your own security firm take some time to remember where you came from and guard your reputation within the industry.

 

Denida Zinxhiria

Founder & CEO

Athena Worldwide LLC

Athena Academy 

Nannyguards®

www.athenaacademy.com

www.nannyguards.com

Proud Member of International Security Driver Association (ISDA)

http://isdacenter.org/

 

Female Close Protection Operatives Training (Level 1) Atlanta, GA, July 9-17

Athena’s Close Protection Operative certification is the next generation in Close Protection training. Our course has been adapted to meet the particular training and educational requirements, specific to female close protection operatives.

Basic Training: Level 1

Including:
-Principles of Executive Protection/Code of Conduct
-Solo Protector & in a Detail -Physical Security
-Protective Escort -Surveillance & Countersurveillance
-Protective Intelligence & Advance Operations
-Armed and Unarmed Combat/Krav Maga
-Anti-Terrorism (identification and and the terrorist cycle)
-Improvised Explosive Device
-Basic Pistol Training & Firearms Safety
-Event & Estate Security
-Behavioral Intelligence and Attack Recognition
-Dealing with Media & Paparazzi
-First Aid & CPR/AED

Our instructors are from Israel, Greece, and the United States. They brings ATHENA students unparalleled real world experience in protective service operations. Instructors that have served Prime Ministers, celebrities, CEO’s and other influential leaders will be teaching you.
We have an excellent success rate and once the course is completed we continue to work with our students to progress their development and assist their entry into the Close Protection world.

To learn more please visit: http://www.AthenaAcademy.com/

For applications please e-mail: charla@athenaworldwide.com

Athena Academy official FB page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44528524966&ref=ts

Check out our Courses Directory on Thumbtuck <a href=”http://www.thumbtack.com/ga/atlanta/self-defense/female-security-training”>Self Defense Instruction</a>

Course cost is $2,000 with payment schedules available to those who qualify. Deposits for this course are $500, and full course fees paid 2 weeks before starting date

Child Protection Specialist Course: May 28-31, Greece

Athena Academy introducing the new Training Programme developed under the new needs of the close protection industry- working to provide safety to children.

Child Protection Specialist Course: Duration 4 days, May 28-31, Greece

Among others you will be trained in:

– How security team works.
– Driving and walking skills- formations.
– How to work with the CP team.
– Protective intelligence skills.
– Anti kiddnapping.
– Anti-surveillance.
– First Aid for children and CPR.
– Home safety tactics.
– Armed and Unarmed skills.

The cost of it will be $ 950, with a deposit $ 500, and full course fee paid 2 weeks before the training start date.

This course is available to anyone who is currently working with children, nannies, security personnel, or even parents who would like to learn how they can protect their children better.

For more information and applications please contact http://www.athenaacademy.com

Section: Professional Advices from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

What do you expect?

Some helpful hints to getting your foot in the door.

By Jason Collins

CPS, Security Consultant, CP Instructor

You have taken the time to go through one of the many Executive Protection schools around the world. You’ve sacrificed time and money for this training. You’ve learned the core fundamentals to becoming a bodyguard. Now you are ready to break out and start working in the industry.

How do I do this?  First off, begin marketing yourself…..from this point on, YOU make or break YOUR future.

  • Network, network, network…..get to know potential clients, fellow operators, job opportunities.  The internet and today’s technologies, brings everything you need to begin, right to your fingertips. So utilize it…… your instructors, fellow students and former graduates are always a great place to start.
  • Due diligence and following instructions-  if you are on a job board site and see a job that interests you, DO NOT just apply for it….thoroughly read the post….if it says “in need of a Spanish speaking operator with 2 years experience in south America”, do not apply if this is your first attempt at finding work, you only speak your native language and you have never left your country.  Find out all the facts before jumping into something you have no idea about. Know beforehand, what it is you’re getting into.
  • Be professional…..again, you make or break your future.  You will most certainly be overlooked if you respond to a job bid or post with poor grammar and an obvious lack of professionalism. Sell yourself.
  • Know what you’re looking for … whether you want to go the celebrity, corporate, local or corporate warrior route, due your research. Utilize the resources out there for finding work in that specific niche.         Start small. Make yourself known to local LEO agencies, state and municipal government agencies. Your local mayor, political campaigns, domestic abuse centers and currier services and strike work details are all good starting points.
  • KEEP TRAINING.  I cannot emphasize this enough. Just because you’ve gone through a “bodyguard” school does not mean you’re ready to take on the world…..It is just the beginning….train often. Keep your skill set fresh and evolving. The more you train, the better you become.
  • And finally……apply with multiple agencies, multiple positions and multiple jobs. Always be on “a list” .  more often than not, things don’t “just happen”. Things (jobs/contracts) take time. Logistics and regulations have to be met and followed through. So be on the list so when and if it does happen, you’re there. If you bank everything on one job, you’re going to get discouraged regularly when that job fails to take place.

Hopefully, this can get you on the right track to finding work….always ask questions, be professional, have integrity and don’t burn bridges.

Section: Professional Advices from Experienced Close Protection Operatives around the world.

From Georgios Liakouras

Anti-Terrorism Specialist Agent, CPS

About your Resume: It is what it is. Even if it is only 1 page, don’t ever lie about your qualifications or the personal information you are mentioning within the resume. It is not professional to lie because if a potential employer does their due diligence and researches your qualifications, and finds out you have lied in your resume, that’s a sure way to NEVER be hired by that employer. Most times clients who are well informed can know if you have worked for that ‘client’’ or not. In the past I have dealt with people who claimed to be working in one famous actor’s personal close protection team. When I asked to see his recommendation letter I saw that he was working as a statistic security guard employed by a security company. Learning this, I did not want to proceed and hire this person.

If you have to, attach another document for your analytic “Professional Education & Training” where you are mentioning the exact training you have taken, by which organizations, the dates and the places.

About the color in the Resume: Be sure you are using the right words in your resume and that is in a nice format. Take the place of a CEO that needs to hire a bodyguard for protection. Why should someone reject a resume because a line is blue and not black? Could this difference in text color replace all CP’ knowledge and skills for his protection? Also, the colors, underlines, bolt, numbers make the text more clear and easier/faster to spot the lines that he is interesting in. A red car is not better than a white car but is more bright and visible but the white car is better in the hot weather. Every color has something to tell us. Make your resume as simple and easy to read and understand.

About Hiring a Personal Protection Specialist Agent: The potential client, that needs protection will not just read your Resume within 2 minutes and decide to hire you as the person that will protect his life. Give him the time to have a good look at it, to ‘’study’’ it. He has to read your information without even thinking about the time and he has to understand all of your qualifications prior to decide. If an agency is flooded with resumes and CV’s, they will all be looked over. The person going over your resume will thoroughly look through it. It is a life or death decision. If you don’t read you cannot learn and if you don’t read you cannot know. So keep your resume simple and tailored to that specific client. You want all the information contained to be easy to read and understand without overwhelming the client with language that’s to complex or filled with “operator specific” jargon that the client won’t recognize or understand.

About experience: We know that if you have experience it is probably to get a higher salary and if less experience it is probably to get a less salary. I say probably because the CEO will decide the level and kind of experience he needs (No more no less) and the money to afford. The same thing is for the level and variety of knowledge/education. In the market we have Executive Protection, Personal Protection, Diplomatic Protection, Celebrities Protection, Estate Protection, Vessel Security, PSD Operator that needs different level and kind of experience, knowledge, education and other way to perform the system of protection and social status/character. So, in saying this…..if you are not currently working, TRAIN! Train often and train hard. Learn and grow in your craft. The more knowledge and skill you possess, the better the chances of landing the job.

About the active role of Bodyguard/PSD Operator/Vessel Security:

Bodyguard:

There are many people who work in security industry and they have a background from Special Forces, law enforcement, private investigations, etc. The training is good and prepares you mentally, controls fear, physically and use of weapons, but it does not make you automatically an Executive Personal Protection Specialist Agents without a specific certified Bodyguard training. A Bodyguard does not make look for confrontation but protects his/her client and goes for an avenue of escape. He does not have heavy weapons and cloths and nor any other army/aerial/navy support. He cannot utilize his martial arts in the street or take his gun and start to shoot as we do in the combat. He will lose his job and the CEO will pay a high liability. Have in mind that in England and many other countries we cannot use weapons.

PSD Operator: A PSD Operator is a civilian and not an active soldier. He is not there to be the aggressor, but , like the bodyguard, he will protect and escape with the client. No army support no heavy cloths no many and heavy weapons and ammunitions as a Marine. Even in Iraq as a PSD Operator you cannot shoot anyone with no reason (PSD Operators court case of Armor Group in Iraq assault).

Vessel/Maritime Security & Escort: They compose of 4 to 5 people on the ship. Some of them with no weapons against pirates, who usually have many and heavy weapons. The military training and war methods cannot be applied on the ship.

About your Experience & Education/Training : If you have 10 years experience and this is also hypothetic (The client will judge it according his needs). Also, if you have 10 years someone else will have 15 and if you have 15 years someone else will have 25 e.t.c….So, if they want to hire someone with the MAX of years experience then not many people will be available and what about the others with less years (No work places?).If you finish a Police Academy you cannot start working as an officer? Do you need experience for that?. What about the training? Is it not an experience? In this case why do they send the marines after their training in Iraq to make real war? Where is their experience? But as we know the training is experience!!

The knowledge is power and not anymore the weapons and muscles. We know that many marines and Special Forces lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan from simple people with just a simple weapon. Where is their experience? Nothing is really guaranteed or experience or knowledge in the real war but the bodyguard is not in the war nor is he a soldier.

Working as a Bodyguard or PSD Operator or Vessel/Maritime Security, very important is the preparation and execution of the security plan and to perform a complete plan, you need a vast and various knowledge/education/training/life experience/maturity. Weapons are the last resort and in some countries you do not even have this last resort. You can use a pistol but not rifles/ machine-guns/grenades/rockets in many countries so the training in the army will not be applicable.

So, when you start to study and training you will understand that the education of the different fields such as: Security, Investigation, and Homeland security, Anti-terrorism, Security management and many others as you will mention in your documents is a powerful combination and create a powerful weapon called “knowledge”.

According to the statistics 95% and up the bodyguards was dead after an organized ambush.

Many of them had no time to draw their guns and if they have guns. The key is the preparation to avoid the ambush and/or escape and to make it happen you need knowledge to the subject.

You cannot find people in the market that have many years experience with deadly ambush, but you can find some people with the knowledge to avoid them.

A bodyguard/PSD Operator/Vessel Security cannot and must not react as a Police officer or Soldier and many of the military or police training and experience cannot be applicable. You are a civilian! Only if you work as mercenary you can react as soldier.

About Muscular Size and Martial Arts: Some clients ignore the real role of a bodyguard and look to hire muscular people or people with a black belt in a specialized martial art. This is not a guarantee. What about if the killer/terrorist/assassin is more than one? What about if they know martial arts too? What about if they are muscular? What about if they had Special Forces training? What about if they have weapons and the bodyguard does not? Can a single bodyguard be against them? In the movies, yes but not in reality. The muscles, weapons and martial arts are just some last tools to use in some cases.

About EX Secret Service/FBI/Police Officers: Some clients prefer to hire retired agents because they have good training and knowledge and think that they can protect them as the president but they are wrong. One, they are civilians, two, they do not have the support of their organization (Equipments and Agents), and three, they can only use pistols or nothing according to the law of the country. So, they can offer protection like any other bodyguard.

About Night Club Security and People of the Night: These people are simple security guards with a better salary because they work at night and for a club and with some tips. From my experience as security club in Belgium, I have noticed they are usually big guys or regular but with knowledge of self-defense. They do not have any knowledge and qualification to be Personal Protection Agents. These people are able to protect someone from an attack of “wallet thief’s”, drunken people or ex-wife/ex-husband attack and keep far the journalists. Their salary must not be the same or above the salary of a Professional Personal Protection Agent that must do everything against every kind of threats nationally and internationally.

Red Cross: 8 Staff Kidnapped in Eastern Congo

The international aid organization in Geneva announced on Tuesday the kidnapping of 8 Red Cross staff near the town of Fizi in South Kivu, Eastern Congo.

For extremists groups, the kidnapping of volunteers who are offering aid services has become daily news. They hit an easy target as the most of the volunteers are medics and generally people who had never experienced any kind of security training. Most of them are arriving in an unknown country having the motives to offer aid and ended finding themselves in warzone situations. They experience threats to their life, fear and some of them end murder (according to Control Risks of London only 40%of victims are released safely after payment of a ransom). Authorities estimate the number of kidnappings per year near to 8000, with Iraq being in the 1st place as the high risk zone for kidnappings leaving Mexico in 2nd place.

Extremists seems to prefer kidnapping not only locals, but foreign missions staff in order to reclaim not only money ransom but also political and in this case we have to wonder how prepared those people are when they decide to travel to a impoverished country, are they aware for the real risk facts they are dealing with? In most of cases those people are volunteers not missioneries who are payed and payed well in some case, people who are offering services to others miles away from their home.

What we would like to emphasize is the need of proper security training to people who decide to offer their services in high risk countries. For sure they cannot get through a military training but they can have short seminars to learn simple tips in how to protect themselves or how to behave in cases that a kidnap is taking place. (Tips to avoid kidnap http://bit.ly/bao0Xv )

Female bodyguards: A muscled option

It was close to midnight. Sarita Mehra, a senior executive at a multinational company, was driving back home from the office. Suddenly, two men on motorbikes zipped by her, making obscene gestures as they sped by. “It had been going on for days. These men always harassed women drivers,” Mehra told DNA.

The next night, however, Sharma was prepared. As soon as she spotted the culprits, she pulled up by the side of the road. The bikers stopped and menacingly approached the car. What the goons weren’t expecting, however, was the woman seated in the passenger seat getting out and fighting back. She kicked one in the groin, while punching the other’s face.

“We had called the police earlier, and within minutes the men were nabbed,” said Jyoti Singh, the woman who rained down the pain on the eve teasers. Singh belongs to a growing breed of women bodyguards who are trying to make the city safer for other women.

With incidents of sexual crimes on the rise, security agencies are cashing in on the idea of providing personalised security services for women, by women. “Our clients feel comfortable around female bodyguards,” said Deepak Monga, head of marketing and communication, Topsgrup security agency.

However, the service does not come cheap. Priced between Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 per month for an eight to 12 hour shift, it is affordable only to high profile clients.

Despite steep rates, the demand in Mumbai and other urban areas is growing. According to industry estimates, there are nearly half a dozen security agencies in the city, employing 30 to 50 women bodyguards each. “We started out a year ago with only a small number. Now we have 60 women bodyguards working actively across India, 45 of which operate in Mumbai alone,” Monga added.

Women bodyguards are also ideal for ‘covert security cover’, when clients don’t want to bring unnecessary attention to themselves.

“A man with bulging muscles will not only scare away potential molesters, but also colleagues and acquaintances,” laughs businesswoman Leena Shah, who has a woman bodyguard posing as her personal assistant. Others like Swati More and Deepa Patnaik guard children of the rich and the famous at schools and playgrounds while pretending to be nannies or maidservants.

Meanwhile, security agencies are busy touting the idea of female bodyguards as a solution to crime against women. “Once the trend catches on there will be a drop in incidents of harassment, and rape,” feels Monga. That remains to be seen, but efforts to make Mumbai a safer place for women seem to have begun.

Russian Model-Bodyguard Killed

art.russian.maxim.jpg
Anna Loginova was, for many Russians, a feminine icon — bridging the glamorous world of modeling and the murky depths of Russian crime.

But this week, the stunning Loginova became a victim of the criminals she made sure could not get to her millionaire clients. She was killed trying to stop a thief stealing her own car on a busy Moscow street.

As a glamour model, 29-year-old Loginova often appeared on the covers of Russian magazines, scantily clad. She fronted advertisements for high-profile brands in Russia, like the German carmaker BMW.

But behind the glossy images, Loginova had another profession: She was an experienced bodyguard, trained in martial arts, commanding high prices to protect Russia’s wealthy elite. One notable client was Russian boxer Kostya Tszyu. Video Watch editor describe how she never had fear »

Having a female bodyguard is more than just a status symbol in Russia. Industry insiders say women bodyguards are not recognizable and, thus, allowed to sit at tables with their clients during dinners and other events — unlike their male peers who are usually forced to wait in the lobby.

Those who knew Loginova say she was passionate about her double life, saying she saw no contradiction between her femininity and her dangerous job as a bodyguard.

“She was kind and sweet, not like a terminator, not like Sigourney Weaver in ‘Aliens,'” said Igor Cherski, editor of Maxim magazine’s Russian edition, which commissioned her last glamour shoot.

“But I feel that she was not afraid of anything. There was no fear in her eyes,” he added.

It seems that fearlessness may have gotten her killed. On a busy street in southeastern Moscow on Sunday night, police say they recovered her battered body after she tried to prevent her Porsche Cayenne from being stolen — clinging on to the high-end SUV as it sped away. The vehicle was later found abandoned.

“According to eyewitnesses, an intruder just threw her out of the car,” explains Oleg Pavlov, a special police investigator in charge of the investigation.

“She grabbed the door handle, but when the car took off and picked up speed, she let go.”

No one has been arrested in connection with the killing.

Russian media have been giving the killing prominent coverage, with witnesses expressing their shock that this kind of crime could happen.

But luxury car theft in Moscow is not uncommon, and Loginova herself was no stranger to it. In her last magazine interview, she described how she foiled another carjacking just four months ago as she parked her car outside a flashy Moscow fashion boutique.

“So while I was closing my car, a guy of 30 years old or slightly older jumped on me,” Loginova said. “So I did a jujitsu move — I bent his hand that grabbed mine, and struck him in the face with my elbow. It was a total surprise for him.

“As he was leaning back covering his face, I pulled a pistol from my bag and aimed it at him. He obviously realized that was no joke,” she said. “Then a car immediately pulled up nearby, something like a Honda, a dark car, and he jumped into it. And I still stood there with my pistol. I was actually spooked too.”

That experience apparently emboldened Loginova to defend her car for a second time. But she was overwhelmed. Even the formidable skills of Russia’s most famous — and glamorous — bodyguard couldn’t save her. 

Prince William and Female Bodyguards

By Lauren Thompson


Prince William has a female bodyguard - so what?

BIG DEAL: Britain’s first female Beefeater at the Tower of London

A PHOTOGRAPH of Prince William’s new bodyguard – who happens to be a woman – featured on the front page of the Sunday Times this week.

The headline read: “Girl Power: William gets close protection”.

“Prince William leaves the Embassy club in London… accompanied by his two new female police protection officers,” read the caption.

Is it really newsworthy that a royal bodyguard is female? I doubt there would ever be a headline entitled “Boy Power” to point out William had two male bodyguards. Perhaps the fact that the bodyguard pictured was a young, attractive blonde woman helped to get the story on the front page.

It got me thinking about other women in traditionally male jobs that have featured in the news this year – and the prejudices and criticisms they have faced.

Britain’s first female Beefeater at the Tower of London, Moira Cameron, hit the headlines in September for shattering 500 years of tradition. When interviewed by the press, she said: “I had one chap at the gate who said he was completely and utterly against me doing the job.”

In April, Jacqui Oatley became the first woman commentator on TV’s Match Of The Day. An internet campaign to fire Oatley, imaginatively entitled “Woman Commentator On MotD – Go Back To The Kitchen,” gained 3,172 members in one week. Many sexist commentators, including Jimmy Greaves in The Sun, appeared to be dumbfounded by her appointment and lamented back to an age when “Men were men, women were women and we knew who each other were.”

Another Jacqui, Britain’s first home secretary, came under fire in the first week of her job for – god forbid – having breasts. Several derogatory remarks were made about Ms Smith’s (barely visible) cleavage when she addressed the House of Commons regarding the Glasgow airport terror attack. She rightly told such journalists to “get over yourselves.”

We may have female bodyguards and football commentators, but the controversy surrounding their appointment shows how far women still have to go.

China – Wealthy Use Female Bodyguards

by Anthony Kuhn

Some wealthy Chinese are seeking a measure of protection by hiring private bodyguards. There are some occasions, though, where it can be awkward to have a burly guy with a buzz cut and shades by your side. So some businessmen have begun hiring female bodyguards.

Zhao Xin, 23, grew up in a family of athletes in Changchun city in North East China, a region traditionally known as Manchuria. She’s heavy-set, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and her right roundhouse kick slams into the heavy punching bag with a meaty thud.

“Before I got into sports, I was rather introverted,” she says. “I didn’t dare to talk much. But once I started practicing martial arts, my character started to change. I became more outgoing… just like a boy.”

At sports school, Zhao trained in full-contact sparring. She recently joined a training program for bodyguards at the Tianyu martial arts school. The course includes instruction in driving, computer skills and self-defense-related laws. Zhao says she has already found work.

A local executive, who had received threats that his child would be kidnapped, hired Zhao to escort his child to and from school.

Zhao’s classmate Jiang Meng, 22, says she can’t wait to graduate from the bodyguard course and go on her first assignment.

“In traditional China, education didn’t do women much good,” Meng says. “They’d just find a husband, get married and lead a stable life. That’s not what I hope for. I like danger. After all, we only live once. I want to show everybody what I’ve got.”

Zhao and Meng’s teacher is Xing Tianzhu, a veteran martial artist, former special forces soldier, and a former bodyguard.

One company in southwestern Yunnan province recently hired one of Xing’s bodyguards, a woman named Sun Linlin. The company’s president spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his family name, Zhao. He notes that Chinese have long prized Manchurian bodyguards for their physical size, loyalty and bravery, and female bodyguards have advantages of their own.

“I think that women tend to work more carefully and their powers of observation are sharper than men,” the company president says. “My company also has three or four male bodyguards, and I find it works best when we use men and women in different combinations, depending on the task.”

He confirms that his female bodyguard handily fended off four assailants who harassed his wife in a local restaurant in January.

China’s government has not recognized the bodyguard profession’s legal status, so for the moment, Xing calls his bodyguard firm a “business etiquette” company. Some law-enforcement officials believe the protection business should not be left to the private sector. But Xing says that firms like his need recognition and regulation.

“Every dynasty in China has had private security firms,” Xing says. “They fill a definite need within our society. After all, the government can’t send troops and police to give private entrepreneurs personal protection.”