What Is A Close Protection Officer?

Written by Holly Savage

7th February 2023

There are many roles within the security industry, ranging from door supervisors to security guards but one role that has become increasingly popular is close protection operatives. But what is a close protection officer really? We’ll be discussing this and more such as what is close protection security, how much close protection officers get paid, and whether are they allowed to carry guns.

What Is Close Protection Security?

Close protection security is a small sector within the security industry and is typically known for providing protection to people. People who work in close protection security tend to be close protection officers and bodyguards.

What Is A Close Protection Officer?

A close protection officer, more commonly known as a bodyguard, is a type of security guard who works within the security industry to protect people. Close protection operatives are normally hired to protect high-profile people such as:


  • Celebrities.
  • Politicians.
  • Wealthy Individuals.
  • Government Officials.
  • Members Of The Royal Family.
  • Barristers.

How Much Does A Close Protection Officer Earn?

According to Glassdoor, a close protection officer’s salary is normally £33,247 a year. However, how much a close protection officer makes will depend on the position that they are applying for and the location where they are working. As busier city areas will pay more than smaller rural areas to help cover the cost of living.

what is a close protection officer

What Is The Role Of A Close Protection Officer?

Like security guards, close protection officers will have a similar main duty of protection. However, unlike security guards who protect everything from buildings to valuables, a close protection operative’s main role will be to focus on the safety of their client.

How To Become A Close Protection Officer?

To be a close protection operative in the UK, you don’t need to have any specific education qualifications but there are some other things you may need.  We’ve listed some of the top requirements in more detail.

An SIA Close Protection Licence

Like any other job within the security industry, close protection officers in the UK will need to have a licence approved by the Security Industry Authority. The licence that they will need to have is an SIA close protection licence and it costs around £190. This is valid for 3 years and you can apply for this licence online on the SIA’s website.

Passing Training Courses

To gain an SIA licence, officers will need to pass specific security training courses, where they will earn security qualifications. The security qualification that bodyguards will need to gain is a Level 3 Certificate for Close Protection Operatives Working in the Private Security Industry.

It is also required for close protection operatives to pass a first aid training course as well. It is extremely important for bodyguards to have a first aid qualification as they may have to deal with high-pressure situations.

Being At Least 18 Years Old

Another requirement for becoming a close protection officer is being at least 18 years old. This is an official requirement for all jobs within the security industry.

Undergoing Background Checks

Before becoming a close protection officer, you may be expected to undergo background checks by the SIA. The SIA will perform these checks to see how suitable you are for the job and to determine the type of person you are. Some of the checks they may do are:

  • A Criminal Record Check
  • A Basic Background Check
  • A Mental Health Check

Having The Right To Work In The Area You Are Planning To Work In

Another requirement you will have to pass is having the right to work within the area that you are planning on working in. In the UK, if you are already a UK citizen then this isn’t a problem. However, if you aren’t it is still possible to gain a licence as long as you have the right to work in the country. The SIA will first need to check that you have the right to work before letting you apply for a licence.

Having A Driving Licence

Finally, the last requirement needed to become a close protection officer is having a driving licence. As officers will work closely with the clients they are protecting, they may be required to drive them to different venues. So, it is beneficial to have a driving licence before becoming a close protection officer.

close protection officers

How To Get A Close Protection Licence?

To gain a close protection licence in the UK you will not only need to pass security training, but you will also need a first aid qualification. Back in 2022, the UK government and SIA announced that is now essential for close protection officers to be first aid qualified. They decided to make these changes to due to recent changes in the law and because they believed it would help keep the general public safe.

Is A Close Protection Licence Worth It?

Yes, a close protection licence approved by the SIA is definitely worth it – if you would like to work as a bodyguard.

Can Females Do Close Protection Work?

Although the security industry is more male-dominated, many women will work as close protection officers and bodyguards. Take a look at our short to find out more about some of the most famous female close protection guards.

What Makes A Good Close Protection Officer?

There are many skills needed to become a good close protection officer. Some of these are:


  • Being able to work well under pressure.
  • Good leadership skills.
  • Good communication skills.
  • To be able to pay attention to detail.
  • Good physical fitness.
  • A good knowledge of public security and safety.
  • Good concentration skills.
  • Good patience skills.

What Does A Close Protection Officer Do?

The main task of a close protection officer will be to protect the clients from potential threats such as terrorism, stalking, crime, and theft. However, bodyguards will also have other tasks and responsibilities to oversee as well. Some of these are:


  • Identifying any suspicious activity, people, and behaviour.
  • Driving their clients to and from events or venues.
  • Accompanying clients on their business and social trips.
  • Reviewing the safety of a venue before their client arrives.
  • Preventing any potential threats or disruption.

What Powers Do Close Protection Officers Have?

Close protection operatives will have similar powers to security guards. Like guards, they can detain people who they believe are committing a crime. However, they aren’t law enforcers like the police, so they can’t physically arrest someone and instead can only perform a citizen’s arrest.

close protection officer

Are Close Protection Officers Armed?

Some close protection officers can be armed with self-defence weapons, but most won’t be. Overall, it will depend on the laws of the country that the officer is working in. For example, in the UK there are strong laws against carrying weapons which means UK close protection officers will be unarmed.

Can A Close Protection Officer Carry Guns?

A common question asked about bodyguards is whether they are allowed to carry guns or not, and this will depend on the laws of the country in which they are operating. For example, in the UK, it would be impossible for close protection officers to carry guns due to the UK’s strict laws on carrying weapons and firearms.

Is Close Protection A Good Job?

Close protection is definitely a good job within the security industry if you are looking for a more exciting and active role. Close protection bodyguards will often be hired to protect high-profile people such as celebrities and they may even attend social events with them as part of their regular tasks. So, the job is always changing and close protection officers don’t tend to complete the same tasks every day.

Another benefit of being a close protection officer is that is a higher-paying role within security. So, if you’re looking for a more active role in security and a job that pays more then working in close protection security might be the right fit for you.

close protection operative

What Is The Difference Between A Bodyguard And A Close Protection Officer?

Bodyguards and close protection officers are quite similar. As they both are hired to supply physical security protection to high-profile clients. So, there isn’t really a big difference between the two. The main difference between close protective guards and bodyguards would be the type of training that they receive.

So, What Is A Close Protection Officer?

Overall, a close protection officer is a guard who works to provide protection to high-profile people such as celebrities and politicians. If you would like to stay updated with the latest security guard news, why not check out our blog? Where you can find articles about becoming a security guard, and about other places security guards work.

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