MP Security Challenges: Opportunities for New Close Protection Officers

With an increase in violent crime and public frustration with politicians, it’s no wonder that MPs are fearing for their lives. No one can forget the horrific shooting and stabbing of Labour MP Jo Cox, which resulted in her death. Also, the trend in violent crime doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In the last Office for Statistics National (ONS) report, knife crime has risen by 7%, and offences with firearms have increased by 9%.

In politics, and especially during an election campaign, emotions run high for some members of the public. Security becomes even more challenging during campaigning when MPs increase public appearances and engagements. On a positive note, the close protection industry is thriving, and close protection officers (CPOs) are the perfect answer to meet MPs' security challenges.

The Increasing Security Threats To MPs

Let’s face it: MP security challenges are undeniable as crime continues and since the death of Jo Cox, nothing much has changed. It is fair to say it has become worse in the UK. There seems to be a rising trend of attacks and threats on MPs in the UK and worldwide.

MP Security Challenges for the General Election 2024

Security becomes even more challenging for MPs during general election months when they are in more direct contact with the public. We’ve already seen direct attacks on Nigel Farage from the Reform Party during the current general election campaigning. The first “attack” was with a milkshake, and the second was with a coffee cup full of wet cement.

For some people these “attacks” were amusing, but the reality is that they could be life-threatening incidents if the attackers used a gun or knife. Additionally, because of social media, MPs are now even more vulnerable. It doesn’t take much effort to determine where an MP lives or the places they will visit on the campaign trail. These situations mean MPs are more vulnerable than they have ever been.

Current Security Measures for MPs

Attempts have been made to help MPs and provide them with more protection. The security minister, Tom Tugendhat, recently overhauled the security measures for MPs. He conducted a risk assessment alongside the Home Office, the police, Parliamentary Authorities, and the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (RAVEC) to determine the requirements.

As a result, in February of this year, the government announced a £31 million package of measures to boost MP security. However, this money is not only for MP security. It’s also to protect the democratic process more broadly. Consequently, more funding will be needed if the government wants to provide more comprehensive protection to its MPs.

For now, these new measures stipulate that:

  • Every MP must have a named contact in the police to discuss security concerns.

MPs must also raise any concerns via the police or the parliamentary authorities to get the ball rolling regarding security. As a result of the funding, three female MPs now have bodyguards and cars as they were “petrified” at the abuse they were receiving.

More Close Protection For MPs is Needed

However, these security measures have come under much criticism as they are limited. For example, many MPs call for more private security at their surgeries and events to work alongside the police. There are also more requests for powers to disperse threatening protests around MPs’ homes and offices. Additionally, many MPs request that every MP have an individual risk assessment instead of being assessed as one whole group.

The danger for MPs is real and was brought to light again in the last few days. Labour MP Stella Creasy had her office windows smashed with a hammer and offensive graffiti sprayed on them. There certainly needs to be a more proactive approach to taking action against threats to MPs. It is readily apparent that more close protection officers will be required to provide robust security to MPs.

The Role of CPOs in Protecting MPs

Parliament has a long way to go in understanding what it needs to do to provide the best protection for MPs. Rumours abound that the government is using security door staff as opposed to close protection officers to protect MPs. While this move will save them money, it is certainly not providing the best protection for MPs. CPOs are highly trained in protecting individuals and can ensure MPs' safety at all times.

Opportunities for Newly Qualified Close Protection Officers

With an apparent demand for CPOs in the UK political arena, it is an excellent time for people to train and become newly qualified CPOs. The political arena is an ideal industry for freshly qualified officers to gain hands-on experience and access networking opportunities in the security industry.

At Blue Mountain Group, we have been training close protection officers for over 25 years. We have a vast security industry network and provide specific training for different scenarios. Our immersive close protection training goes a lot further than the course syllabus. We offer delegates real-life challenges to help push them to their limits.

The Future of MP Security

As we near the end of the campaign trail in the UK, the election looms, and the vote is in sight. However, the threat to MPs is growing and the government must listen to protect its MPs. Shortly, the government will learn that working with CPOs is the best way forward regarding personal security. It’s only a matter of time until more MPs have the protection they need.

This necessity will become more apparent when there are individual risk assessments for every MP. Instead of upgrading security as cheaply as possible, it’s about doing the right thing. MPs deserve the proper protection to carry out their public duties without stress. The positive impact over time will be improved security for MPs at public events and the right to democracy for all.

Hiring Close Protection Officers for MP Security

The government must consider the best protection that is available for MPs. Working with close protection officers can give MPs additional protection to stay safe. Policymakers, security agencies, and the public must collaborate to support enhanced security measures for MPs. After all, everybody has the right to peace of mind and personal safety, regardless of who they are.

At Blue Mountain Group, we are creating a safer world for everyone. If you are interested in training to be a close protection officer, get in touch here, and let’s have a chat. We can explain more about the CPO role so you can see if it is a fit for you and give you all the information you need to start a valuable career in security.

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