It’s who you know, not what you know

It’s hard to put some of my experiences in personal security into words, but I’ll try and give you another short story.

I was 18 years old, working odd days for a billionaire who owned a football club. I was getting trained by ex-police on how to look after a family and a residential area. It was a shock to be in an £80 million mansion with fish tanks as walls and bulletproof Mercedes-Benz to take the kids to school in.  I was living in another world, but I was about to go even deep down the rabbit hole, I just didn’t know it yet.

I will try to cut this next part down as it is very long.

The phone rings.

Boss ‘Sam, get up and get to the office. There’s someone I want you to meet’

Me ‘Copy that’

I get to the office and meet this ‘grey man’ (a term used in the army for someone who blends in) we will call him James as I can’t give his name out.

James: ‘ I’m here to interview you sam’

Me: ‘Ok, what for?’

James: ‘A lifetime opportunity’

Me: ‘Ok….?’

After the interview: James was an ex-SAS soldier who has a team that looks after a government family in another country. He wanted to give me a job. I was 18 and way out of my depth with experience to look after a government family but he wanted to train someone young and not out of the military as some have bad habits when they convert from the military to personal security.

James: ‘ Do you have any commitments here in the UK’

Me: ‘No not really’

James: ‘Good I can put you on a plane tomorrow morning then’

My heart sunk.

Me: ‘Erm yes I suppose you can’

James: ‘Here’s a list of things you need to bring. Also, take this number, text it when you get to the airport when you check in when you land, and when you’re with the driver who will pick you up

Me: ‘Ye ok copy that’ (shitting myself)

Skip to when I arrive and meet my mentor.

The gates open and my ID is checked. I get driven to our barracks and get shown my room.

Mentor: ‘ Here’s your room and there’s your belt’

When I saw it I knew I was in deep…

On my belt, I had two phones, a pager, leatherman, handcuffs, baton… and a firearm.

Mentor: ‘Get ready and let’s meet the pup’

I get my uniform on and then head out. I get told to approach to german shepherd in a certain way and I have to speak to him in a certain accent so he only obeys me. I got trained with him for over two months as the mentor had to pass him over to me because he only takes commands from one person.

This dog was a killing machine. We had dog training days where I had to be his commander but also where I had to be the bad guy and that was the fun part. You put on a padded arm and run as fast as you can, the dog gets released and runs straight for you, you have to be quick to turn around at the right moment or he’ll bite your arse and when I say he will bite, I mean he will rip a cheek or two off you and the rest.

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