In an increasingly polarised world, personal protection is no longer optional for high worth individuals, Dan Cole takes a closer look.
When polling centres closed on the first December general election since 1923, a great number of high-worth individuals were probably watching the 10 pm exit poll through their fingers in anguish.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Before you close this article and go to read something else, let me reassure you that we’re going to spare you another hackneyed long-read on party manifestos, and instead focus on the alarming undercurrent that has emerged after several years of unprecedented political upheaval.
There are many reasons why the great and the good of Britain’s ‘one-percenters’ might have felt more than a vested interest in the outcome – but personal safety surely comes out at the top of the list.
The truth is, red or blue, left or right, rich or poor, there is no getting away from the reality of the current political landscape – we live in a divided nation. If you are an individual of high worth, of course, issues like Corporation Tax and, dare I say it, Brexit, make a difference to you, one way or another.
That said, you are unlikely to be able to do an awful lot about governmental policy, without lobbying your friends in high places. You can ensure, though, that in these difficult cultural times, you are secure in body and mind.
A parliamentary lesson
Not convinced that you need to invest in personal protection? Well, why don’t we extend the political conceit a little longer and take a look at politicians themselves as a relevant example?
Largely high net worth individuals, with a societal impact that outweighs most of their financial clout, members of parliament (MPs) live in ever-more unsettling times. Of course, we all recall the tragic murder of Labour MP Jo Cox on the way to a constituency surgery in Yorkshire in 2016.
It might seem as though Ms Cox’s horrific death might have been a unique occurrence, but, even in a pre-referendum world, it is not uncommon or MPs and political aides to suffer from an existential threat. In 1979, Conservative MP for Abingdon Airey Neave, an active serviceman during World War II, was killed in a car bomb at the Palace of Westminster. In the decade that followed, fellow Conservatives Sir Anthony Berry and Ian Gow were also murdered in similarly awful circumstances.
At the turn of the millennium, Lord Nigel Jones, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, narrowly survived a brutal katana attack in his own constituency office, but his colleague, Andrew Pennington, was not so fortunate, dying in the sword attack.
These examples, spanning decades, are surely evidence enough that attacks on serving politicians are not just fodder for television dramas like the BBC’s Bodyguard.
Whether you’re an MP, or a high net worth individual, personal protection is no longer optional. This has been acknowledged in the public sector, at least, spending on politicians’ security up from a measly 170k per annum, pre-referendum (2015-16), to £4.5m per annum at its peak, just two years later. The spend has reduced somewhat since the 2018 financial year but is still believed to be around £3.5m per annum – reflecting the state’s view of the existential threat to those in public life.
But where do those without HM Treasury’s support go for their protection needs? Well, LLM recommends the rather aptly named Westminster Security Ltd.
Located in the centre of London, just a stone’s throw from the political heart of the UK, Westminster Security is the industry-leading private security firm operating not only in London but throughout the globe protecting their clients.
Established 20 years ago by a former Royal Military Police close protection officer, Westminster Security offers the most trustworthy, exclusive and highest-calibre operatives to provide protection for high value, high-risk individuals.
They only recruit from policing or armed forces backgrounds – and more than that, many of their staff have experience in working as a close protection officer on behalf of the state. Officers from units such as SO14 Royalty Protection, SO1 Specialist Protection and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit and Special Forces make up the fabric of the Westminster Security protection teams.
The private firm offers services across the array of personal protection. From light-touch involvements such as security chauffeuring and protective surveillance, residential security and of course bodyguard services, Westminster Security is your one-stop shop for personal protection.
What price is too steep for security and peace of mind? There isn’t one.