Last summer one of our UHNW clients gave us an interesting challenge. Their teenage daughter at boarding school in the UK wanted to go on the end of term class cycling trip. The trip was to be around 30 miles, starting and finishing at the school and would take around six hours stopping for a packed lunch around midday.
Because of who the girl’s father is there was a real risk of kidnap and ransom and therefore her father stated that she would only be allowed to go on the day’s cycling trip if there were security present to ensure her safety.
The girl’s mother agreed however she stated that she didn’t want her daughter’s enjoyment tarnished by her being flanked by security. She wanted her daughter to enjoy the day with her school friends and therefore the security provision had to be so discreet that even the girl would be unaware that she had security looking after her for the cycle trip.
The solution was very simple and on the day it worked perfectly. We liaised with the school and explained our assignment and our intended plan. Because of the status of many of their pupils’ families, the school was no stranger to this type of request. Their co-operation was essential to make the plan work and they were a pleasure to deal with.
The cycling trip was due to commence at 9.00am. Our team arrived at the school in their 4 x 4 at 8.45am. The team was made up of one male and one female. As agreed with the school, the female was introduced as a friend of Mrs. Bell the geography teacher who Mrs. Bell had invited along for the day. The male was introduced as the friend’s husband who was a keen amateur photographer and birdwatcher and who was going to spend the day driving around the area bird watching and taking photographs.
In reality they were both trained and experienced close protection operatives. Both ex-military and him a fully trained medic. The earpiece that she wore was explained away as ‘her iPod’ however in reality it was her radio link to her ‘husband’ in the support vehicle which also had a full trauma pack in the boot.
From time to time during the day Mrs. Bell’s friend’s husband could be seen parked by the road side ‘bird watching’ with his binoculars.
The day passed without incident. Shortly after 3.00pm the group arrived back at the school. Mrs. Bell bade farewell to her ‘old friend’ and life at the school returned to normal.
The father was very happy because professional security personnel had ensured his daughter’s safety during the school cycle trip.
The mother was very happy because the security provision had been so discreet that even her daughter was unaware that she had two well trained, professional close protection operatives on the trip just to ensure her safety.
Most importantly of all the young girl had a great day out cycling with her school friends absolutely unaware that Mrs. Bell’s friend and her husband were actually there to ensure her safety. As a child potentially at risk of kidnap because of her father’s position, status and wealth, for her it was a day spent being normal and ordinary, cycling with her friends.