The Door Opening Procedure: A Security Professional's Perspective
Updated: Jan 28
Opening a vehicle door for someone can be seen as a polite gesture, or in the case of a recent BBC article involving Meghan Markle, a sign of a privileged life. But for the security professional (e.g bodyguard, minder), it’s an important procedure implemented to safeguard their client during a stage when they are most vulnerable .
Every time a client is outside of a hardened structure (in this case a vehicle), they are exposed to additional threats. Every step of the door opening procedure is usually discussed and rehearsed at security team level prior to executing an operation. In other words, carrying out their client’s itinerary. The goal is to have their client embus/debus as efficiently as possible in order to move them to their next point of safety: the venue itself or back into their vehicle.
When arriving at a venue, the driver will position the vehicle with the rear passenger door (or wherever the client is sitting) directly inline -or as close to as possible- with the main entrance of the building in order to move their client as efficiently as possible into a place of safety. When the vehicle is static, the personal protection officer (PPO) will confirm their client has everything with them they will need (in order to avoid being re-exposed to vulnerabilities) and then exit the vehicle and move to their clients door.
When alighting from the vehicle, the remaining security detail is scanning the area for potential dangers. If a threat exists, the client will remain seated until given the “all clear”. The PPO will then open the door (crack the seal) for the client but position themselves in a manner that covers the clients body as much as possible until they have successfully exited the vehicle. During this process, if anything were to happen, the PPO will keep maximum body coverage on their principle, push them back into the vehicle and lay on top of them until the vehicle can exit the target area.
The security team must act as a cohesive unit in order to offer the greatest level of protection to their principle. Everything must be planned to the smallest detail to eliminate scope for error. The principle is usually instructed not to open their own doors. This ensures that everyone in the security team is ready for the next stage of the procedure.
During my time in the high threat protection circuit, holding the door for my client was especially important because the vehicles were armored. The doors on an armored vehicle are heavy and if parked on uneven ground, the scope for losing a finger or trapping a foot was high (not to mention the embarrassment factor for the client and security team if there was a mishap.
So in the case of this Royal family member, to some it’s no big deal, but to the security team, it could be a very dangerous situation.
Perspective is everything.
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