The History of Bodyguards and Intelligence

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Is the History of Intelligence As Old As the History of Bodyguards?

Did you know that the history of bodyguards goes back several millennia? When thinking of a bodyguard, you might have the muscular man in mind, wearing a black suit, sunglasses and an earpiece. Someone who stands in your way with a grim face and his hand on the holster. Ready to shoot whenever he notices a threat. That is the superhero version of what the movies depict.

In reality, a bodyguard can be both a tall or a small person. Female or male. Young and strong or matured and extremely experienced. Despite the differences, most professional bodyguards are indeed trained in elite units from the military and/or law enforcement agencies. Thanks to the differences, specific characters are assigned to specific situations. Every professional is officially licensed and most are multilingual, working globally and keeping you and your family or staff safe.

The term bodyguard is often referred to as close protection officer, executive protection officer or personal protection officer. However, protection services comprise so much more than assigning an experienced security officer to guide your every step. Today, specific client needs require specific (inter)personal skills and a unique approach. Discover how the profession of bodyguards evolved and what it entails today in this article.

What Was Here First, Bodyguards or Intelligence?

Over 2,000 years ago, the first protectors were guards assigned to safeguard kings and leaders. The first known guards were the Praetorian guards for the Roman generals. Other dynasties, such as the Persian, Chinese and Byzantine, also used guards to keep their leaders safe.

The guards were recruited from military units, mostly thanks to their outstanding skills or extreme loyalty. The latter was considered a virtue of great significance. Later on, popes, royals, generals, presidents and wealthy persons who required personal protection employed bodyguards.

Along with the development of protection services, secret intelligence rose. It remains the chicken-and-egg question of what service originated first. In his book ‘The secret world: A history of intelligence’, Christopher Andrew traces intelligence back to the first mention of espionage in the Book of Exodus. He suggests that protection services and intelligence have been inextricably connected since early times.

On closer analysis, this is very logical. Based on current, accurate and trustworthy information, you can devise a plan. Historically spoken, to fight combat. Today, to protect against various threats.

Examples of famous historical bodyguards

Professional Bodyguards Use Intelligence Every Day

Another fact Christopher Andrew mentions in his book is that intelligence is very much about learning from previous mistakes. Due to the secrecy and classified status of governmental close protection units, information is scarcely shared. For this reason, quite a few military and police operations failed in the past.

Presently, it’s hard to cope without intelligence. Terrorist attacks, for one, are the reason that having information about someone or some group who poses a threat puts you a step ahead of the competition.

Bodyguards and protection officers who work at a private security company are trained to retrieve data from open sources (OSINT) and deal with secret information so that they can keep their clients safe. A significant part of protecting clients today is knowing where to find specific information, how to protect specific information and having all the facts straight. Based on this information, a tailored protection plan offers the best security strategy.

Being a Part of Bodyguard History

Infinite Risks is a Dutch global security agency that employs Dutch, British and American licensed bodyguards. We offer our international security services to clients with a variety of backgrounds and threat levels, including, among others, famous VIPs and celebrities, UHNWIs, royalty, media teams and diplomats.

It is our aim to keep our clients happy, safe and comfortable.

If you have any questions on the history of bodyguards or about how we can assist with our security services, please contact us.


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