Who is Who on a Bodyguard Team

The Team Leader

This person may or may not be the Bodyguard to the main Principal as well as being in overall charge of the protective operation. The Team Leader’s job is to ensure that everyone has all of the information that they need to enable them to carry out their function; he is usually the one that liaises with the Principal and the contracting security company if there is one. On most assignments, the Team Leader has the authority to hire and fire team personnel.

The Bodyguard

Bodyguard in Suit Looking Around and Opening Car Door to Female Boss  Service by Motortion

Usually abbreviated to BG, he is a member of the PES (discussed below). However, his role is quite different; while everyone on a team is in theory a bodyguard, i.e. their function, whether they are drivers or they guard the garden gate, is that of guarding the Principal. There is only one BG per principal. There may be a day BG and a night BG but generally there is only one BG on one principal at any one time. The other ‘Bodyguards’ are referred to as the PES. The BG is the person that will be in close contact with the Principal at all times. His job is to shield the Principal from any danger, i.e. to give ‘body cover’. The BG forms the inner cordon of defence and is responsible for seeing that no threat gets past him and to the Principal. When working as personal home security guard part of the PES, the BG is the one that never stands and fights. He runs away (with the Principal of course), giving body cover as he does so. This role can be (dependent upon the situation) in complete contrast to that of the PES.

The Bodyguard is the ‘main man’ or woman; he is the one with the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of his charge He and the Principal are at the centre of concentric circles of protection (concentric circles have the same centre). He is the last piece of protection and he puts himself between every conceivable threat and the Principal. The other circles are made up of the PES and the RST, which we will learn about below.

The Personal Escort Section (PES)

The PES can have different functions depending on the situation in which they find themselves. Generally speaking, they provide an outer cordon of defence as opposed to the BG’s inner cordon. In some situations their function may be the same as the BGs, that is, give body cover and get away from the danger. In other situations, their function may be to attack the threat and give the BG time to get the Principal away from the danger.

Again, depending upon the situation, the PES may be as close to the Principal as the BG; in others, they may be much further away. For instance, outside a venue in a car ready to be called upon if needed.

The Security Advance Party (SAP)

The makeup of the SAP will vary from one assignment to another; some may have one or two members that are dedicated to advance work and do nothing else. Others may only use an SAP when they have a particular need. Basically, the function of the SAP is to ensure that their are no surprises for the Principal while he is out and about on his social and business schedule. The SAP will travel in advance of the Principal, checking that routes and venues are OK. They may do this months in advance and it may include, for example, the planning of an overseas trip, one which they may do minutes in advance (it may be that the Principal wants an impromptu trip to a local restaurant with which the team are not familiar). The SAP carries out an important function; it needs to have excellent communication skills, exercise good personal security and be trained in all aspects of search.

The Residence Security Team (RST)

The RST, as the name suggests, look after the physical security of anywhere that the Principal is resident. This could be a house, a hotel, or a yacht. Many principals secure all of their residences with an RST, even if they are only resident for a few weeks of the year. This is where most fledgling bodyguards will serve their Bodyguard apprenticeship. The RST will need to have the skills to use the modern equipment that is now used to assist the security of premises. They need to work hard and hope that they are ‘noticed’ and eventually move on to better things. Members of the RST will often be required to carry out route reconnaissance or to do some SAP work. Mess these tasks up and you are destined to ‘stay in the garden’. Do a good job and the next time someone in the PES has a day off you might get to stand in and impress.


While all members of the team should be able to drive, often the role of driver is a dedicated one. That is, someone is employed solely as a driver. This driver may or may not be trained in close protection. When they are not, it is a crime, because sometimes the most effective weapon that a close protection team has is the vehicle that they are in. In an emergency situation, it is much better to have a close protection trained driver that can work with the team rather than some fat chauffeur who is only employed because the Principal likes the way he wears his peaked cap and keeps the car clean!

Driving is a specialist role and if someone on the team is a dedicated driver then those drivers need also to be dedicated to building the defensive and evasive driving skills that a team may one day need. Of course, a smooth drive and a clean car are also important.

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