There are many elements to the close protection sector which dictate how much close protection operatives or bodyguards can or could earn.
Firstly, we need to look at the operative themselves, what is their background, experience, and training? Many ex-military operatives believe that they should be paid a premium rate just because they have a military background. However, the skills learnt as an infantry soldier or engineer, for example, do not instantly transfer over in to the executive or celebrity protection industry, albeit theses skills could transfer over to the PMC/PSD sector (Private Military Company / Personal Security Detail) protecting clients in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or other conflict zones around the world, with further training. Much in the same way that a civilian operative would not normally have the correct experience, training, mindset, or mental resilience for a hostile environment.
When starting as a close protection operative with no experience, it is incredibly difficult to find an opportunity to get your foot on the close protection career ladder. It is an industry that demands a particular set of skills and experience, so opportunities at the beginning of a bodyguard’s career can be slim, and the wages slimmer still.
The reality of the wages that can be earned is very different to what ‘newbies’ are told on their chosen close protection training courses or that they have been misled by the growing number of socialite close protection operatives that claim to own the fast cars and have jet-set lifestyles that are not theirs, but borrowed or provided by their principal.
It is not uncommon for many assignments and security vacancies to be advertised offering rates as low as £10.00 per hour for a 12-hour shift on an RST (residential security team). There have been close protection vacancies advertised for the same rate by some unscrupulous companies. Other companies will not disclose the rate of pay (ROP) for fear of ridicule and embarrassment.
Unfortunately, since the London 2012 Olympics, the security industry has been flooded with security training companies and security operatives which have aided the downturn in wages and standards.
Of course, when starting at the bottom of the career ladder beggars cannot be choosers, new bodyguards must be prepared to start at the bottom, but the rate of £10.00 per hour was the average rate almost 20 years ago before the SIA was formed to “raise the standards”.
As of 2020, an experienced CPO working in the UK can expect to earn between £180 – £350 per day, anything above that is exceedingly rare in the UK these days.
Travelling with clients should see an increase in the daily rate, with travel, food and accommodation all covered.
A well-paid RST (residential security team) assignment will pay £200 per day, typically for a 12 hour day, the average being around £150 per day.
Very experienced operatives can earn between £350.00 – £500.00 per day depending on the level of threat, risk and profile associated with the principal. These rates are extremely rare and for generally short-term assignments. Generally, high rates are not advertised publicly due to the attention and interest it would invoke.
For CPOs employed full-time, they can expect to be paid between £50,000 – £100,000 per year. Again, many variables will affect remuneration. To put that into perspective, Royalty Protection Officers in the Metropolitan police guarding the British royal family get paid a little over £100k per year. However, their training, dedication, and experience eclipses that of a civilian trained bodyguard, not to mention the threat and risks posed.
Fees should be governed by the location, level of threat, and risk associated with the assignment, the higher the risk of attack, the higher the fee, but this does not always transfer down to the operative’s wages.
Low wages can also be attributed to the fact that many security companies will sub-contract assignments to companies who in turn sub-contract it further, each taking a percentage of the wage thus leaving a minimal wage for the security operative on the ground.
It would be best if you personally decided what the minimum rate is that you are willing to leave home and work for, potentially risking your life.
Westminster Security does not sub-contract; we are the prime and only deal directly with our loyal clients. We pay our professional operatives above industry average rates and have a great reputation as employers and security service providers.
Westminster Security provides professional close protection security services in London, the UK and worldwide.