Personal Security & Awareness

Personal Security & Awareness

Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

Every week in London there are several moped enabled crimes committed: robberies, muggings, stabbings, acid attacks, shootings and murders! The Metropolitan police seem ineffective in dealing with this epidemic; how long will it be before there’s a moped enabled terror attack? Will the police start taking this problem seriously then and deal with it?

These unfortunate incidents raise the need for people to consider their own safety and personal security when going about their day to day business. Criminals will, and always have targeted the weak and weaknesses in security.

By taking just a few simple steps we can all avoid being the target or prey of criminals and criminal activity.

You only have to sit in a street café’ and look around you or out of the window and watch how many people are glued staring into a mobile device, completely unaware of their surroundings and what’s going on around them.

Try it next time you are sitting having a coffee, firstly resist the temptation to look at your own mobile device and count how many people are staring at their mobile device, paying no attention to the people and environment around them.

Definition of awareness

The state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. It is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or animal’s perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. Conscious of stimulation arising from within or from outside the person.

By not being aware of your surroundings you are informing potential criminals that you are, or could be an easy target. You are indicating to a potential criminal that they have time to get close enough to pick your pocket or steal your phone before you have time to notice their presence and react to the theft – you have poor personal security and situation awareness. There are many videos and CCTV evidence that shows such crimes taking place on a weekly if not daily basis, and in most cases, the victim is left gobsmacked and in total shock that a robbery has taken place and that they’re the victim.

Every day we all experience different levels of awareness from the moment we step out of bed. The next section describes the different levels of awareness, and from that you will be able to improve your own state of awareness, allowing you to continue with your day to day activities with confidence and awareness of your surroundings.

Coopers Colour codes

Cooper's colour code

Cooper’s colour code is a scale of awareness used by some military and law enforcement training academies to best explain levels of awareness. The name arises from a former US Marine Lt Colonel John Cooper (also known as Jeff Cooper). Jeff Cooper is recognised as the father of what is commonly referred to as “The modern techniques of shooting” whilst his skill with firearms was legendary, he is best known for his colour codes, which depicts levels of awareness: white, yellow, orange & red. Many people owe their lives to Jeff Cooper for keeping them alert & alive.

Cooper’s colour codes explained:

Code white– relaxed, unaware and completely unprepared.

This is where it is said that 95% of people spend 95% of their time – totally switched off!

If a person is attacked in this state, the would-be attacker has everything on their side, that is the element of surprise. If we were to get an adrenaline dump (which occurs in everyone’s body in a state of fright, ‘fight or flight’) in code white it will be a massive amount of adrenalin. An attack will be happening before we’re even aware that an attack is taking place.

You can see people in code white all the time, just look around you, it is very rare that anyone will notice you watching them, the London Underground is a perfect example. Some of the biggest distractions that you will see people embroiled in, is using mobile phones and listening to music, even reading books or the paper whilst walking down the street.

Anyone who has worked in surveillance will know just how oblivious people can be of other people around them. Code white is no place to be! We should always make the conscious decision to move our level of awareness up to code yellow.

Code Yellow –relaxed awareness, running scenarios through your mind and thinking of ways to overcome them while remaining switched on and alert.

Your mindset is; today may well be the day that I may have to defend myself, there is no specific threat, but you are aware that anything could happen when you are not expecting it. You are bristling with anticipation, you are using your eyes and ears scanning for threats, and your demeanour states confidence and alertness to others.

You need to concentrate to stay in code yellow, but with practice, it will come to you as easy as walking and breathing. It is a conscious decision to move from white to yellow, but if you do not maintain your awareness you will drift back into code white without even realising it. However, with little practice, you can live in code yellow indefinitely. Spending years working as a bodyguard in London will see you firmly planted in code yellow.

Code OrangeBecause you are in code yellow and are now much more aware of your surroundings and the people around you, you will see and hear things that will push you into alert code orange. You shift your primary focus to whatever your alert mind noticed, this is the evaluation stage, in which you will start making decisions on the situation, your adrenalin will start flowing, your mindset is; if this situation develops as you think it might, I may have to fight or run away. What is that? Who is that? What am I going to do about it? You can maintain this level of awareness for several hours if the situation requires.

Code RedFight or Flight, ‘WE SEE RED’.

When we are in code orange we made decisions, or if time has not allowed, at least started to make decisions about what we might do if a situation arises.

Well, it happened! Now we are ready, we have received a massive dose of adrenalin, but because we were already receiving the adrenalin being drip-fed in code yellow we are more in control and as more adrenalin is received in code orange, the adrenalin does not have as many of the debilitating effects. The adrenalin is now our friend, we are harder, smarter, faster and in control, we are more prepared and likely to successfully fight off an attacker, or run away to safety – running is often the best defence, especially against an armed and determined attacker.

Personal Security Tips

You may be wondering how this can possibly apply to me, I have no interest in fighting anyone.

Personal awareness is not about teaching you how to fight or to physically defend yourself, that’s for self-defence classes, it’s about taking you back to basics, teaching you to be mentally aware of your surroundings; who is around you, why are they there and do I look like an easy target?

Unfortunately, modern life dictates that we are always contactable or are permanently checking our social media, but with a few simple steps we can teach ourselves to become less of a target and vastly improve our personal security:

  • Plan your route before setting off, you will be safer in brighter, well-lit and busy areas.
  • Don’t take short cuts through dark alleys or across parks and wasteland, shortcuts are not worth the risk.
  • Keep your mobile device as hidden as possible, a mobile phone hanging out of your back pocket screams ‘please steal me!’
  • Look confident, attackers are cowards and prey on those who look weak and vulnerable.
  • Don’t walk around with your mobile device on show to everyone.
  • If you do need to check your phone or need to respond to a message move yourself away from the edge of the kerb and stand as far away from the road as possible, preferably with your back to a building or immovable object. Stand still and glance up periodically taking in your surroundings and who is around you. When you’ve finished sending your message place your phone in a secure pocket or bag.
  • The same can be applied to following your Satellite navigation when walking, don’t forget to check behind you occasionally.
  • Think about your surroundings, is the area or street that you are on known for its high crime rate or gangs, is it a busy street and easy for the pickpockets to disappear by blending into the crowds.
  • When sat in a café’ or restaurant keep your mobile device close by, and not on the table.
  • Keep your bag and all compartments of your bag closed and on your person, within sight or close-by out of reach from opportunist thieves.
  • Listening to music? This again removes one of your senses, try keeping the volume down so that you can hear vehicles coming towards you even the footfall of someone running towards you. Again, remain observant and periodically look around you. Best case scenario, don’t block one of your vital senses by listening to music, it instantly shows potential thieves that you’re not aware.
  • Last, but not least; are your personal belongings more important than your life? If you do become a victim of a street robbery let them take your belongings, you can easily replace them, but your family can’t replace you!

Hire Personal Security in London

If your situation has developed to the point that you no longer feel safe or able protect yourself, you may wish to hire personal security in the form of close protection services (bodyguards) from a private security company. You do not have to be rich and famous to hire personal security services; bodyguards are hired for many reasons, of course, the obvious: Celebrities, CEO’s, High-net-worth families and Royalty. But we also provide bodyguard services in London, throughout the UK, Europe, even Worldwide for our clients for a whole host of reasons, including stalkers, jealous ex-partners or family members, court appearances, staff dismissal, shopping trips and even holidays! The only prerequisite required is your need for added personal security and safety in any given situation or environment. Westminster Security is expert in the provision of close protection services, contact us today to discuss your concerns and security requirements.