Last week whilst discussing security matters with a Family Office, I told them of a client we have whose London residence had the most beautiful window boxes that you could imagine. The issue was that the day before the client came to London, whatever time of year, a team of florists/gardeners would turn up at the house and adorn the window boxes and hanging baskets with flowers. Whilst the house manager was delighted because it was so welcoming for the client, we explained that he may as well place advertisements in the London Evening Gazette announcing that the client would be arriving the next day. Part of the client’s security plan to protect them was that their visits to London would be kept as low profile and as discrete as possible.

Our recommendation was that in order to maintain the client’s privacy when they visited their London property, the window baskets and hanging baskets needed to be maintained either 365 days per annum or not at all. The client enjoyed the window boxes and hanging baskets so much that as a result of our recommendation, a lucky London florist was awarded a fantastic contract to maintain the window boxes and hanging baskets 365 day a year. More importantly the threat to the client was diminished because a large tell tale sign had been removed.

There are other tell tale signs that can be easily recognised by wrongdoers for example.

• House staff dressing smarter when the client is in residence
• More and larger food deliveries than normal
• Frenzied activity around the house prior to a client arrival
• Family pets being returned from kennels in anticipation of the client’s arrival

At our request, some of the houses we look after no longer put their dogs into kennels. This allows our operatives walk the dogs in the neighbourhood and in doing so carry our valuable anti/counter surveillance as well as gathering valuable local intelligence. Take a dog for a walk and you’ll find that people tend to speak to the dog first and then the person walking the dog. Dogs are great ice breakers. When dog walking our operatives speak to everyone. Neighbours, workers, contractors, scaffolders, road sweepers, postmen, passers by, everyone, and is doing so they discover which house has had an attempted break in and when, which car has been stolen from outside of which door etc. This allows up to keep an up to date dynamic threat and risk assessment for the property and it’s occupants and thus helps us keep them safe.

So next time you see someone walking a dog, please stop and have a chat. It could well be one of our team looking after a property like yours.