Ethics is crucial in the executive protection industry. This industry is responsible for protecting high-profile individuals, such as executives, politicians, and celebrities, who may be at risk of physical harm, kidnapping, or other forms of danger. As such, the executive protection industry requires individuals with strong ethical principles to protect their clients professionally and responsibly.
The executive protection industry operates in a highly sensitive and confidential environment, and there are often situations where agents are entrusted with sensitive information or given access to restricted areas. Agents must maintain the highest integrity, confidentiality, and discretion levels. Any breach of trust or unethical behavior can have serious consequences, not only for the agent and their employer but also for the safety and well-being of their client.
Furthermore, the executive protection industry is subject to various laws and regulations that govern agents’ behavior. Agents must understand and comply with these laws to ensure they do not violate their clients’ rights or engage in illegal activities.
There have been several occasions where the executive protection industry has suffered due to a lack of ethics or integrity. One well-known example is Blackwater Worldwide, a private military contractor that provided security services to both public and private clients.
In 2007, unarmed civilians in Baghdad, Iraq, were shot by Blackwater employees, resulting in 17 fatalities and countless injuries.
The agents were found to have violated a number of moral and legal norms, including using excessive force, utilizing illegal weapons, and disregarding the lives of civilians after an inquiry.
The scandal sparked outrage on a global scale, which heightened monitoring of the executive protection industry.
It focused on the value of ethics and responsibility in the industry as well as the need for suitable training, oversight, and regulation to ensure that agents abide by the law and uphold the highest ethical standards.
The Blackwater incident also had severe consequences for the company, which was sued by the victims’ families and faced criminal charges for several of its employees. The incident damaged the company’s reputation and led to losing contracts and revenue, ultimately resulting in its bankruptcy in 2020.
Another example of how a lack of ethics or integrity negatively affected the executive protection industry is the case of TigerSwan, a private security and consulting firm that provided services to various clients, including the oil and gas industry, law enforcement agencies, and the military.
In 2017, an investigation by The Intercept revealed that TigerSwan had engaged in unethical and potentially illegal practices during its operations in North Dakota, where it was hired by the Energy Transfer Partners to provide security for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The investigation revealed that TigerSwan had engaged in surveillance and intelligence-gathering activities against pipeline protesters and their allies, using tactics that included infiltration, intimidation, and misinformation. The company had also collaborated with local law enforcement agencies to suppress protests and disrupt the free speech rights of activists.
The discoveries provoked significant criticism and condemnation, underscoring the significance of ethical behavior and human rights respect in the executive protection industry. Several groups filed lawsuits against TigerSwan for abusing their rights and conducting unlawful monitoring as a result of the incident, which also sparked legal challenges and regulatory action.
The TigerSwan case illustrated the harmful effects of a lack of ethics and integrity in the executive protection industry, as well as the necessity for effective oversight, accountability, and transparency to ensure that agents operate within the law and uphold the highest ethical standards.
Everyone working in or intending to begin a career in E.P. must recognize that ethics is critical to the executive protection industry. Agents must possess solid ethical principles and adhere to high integrity, confidentiality, and discretion standards to protect their clients professionally and responsibly.
In the executive protection market, standards are crucial because they offer a framework for making sure that agents follow the law and uphold the highest ethical and professional standards.
Standards serve as the foundation for training, certification, and accreditation programs and help to create a consistent vocabulary and knowledge of what is expected of agents. Clients can assess the caliber and dependability of protection services using standards, and they can confirm that agents are capable and qualified to carry out their jobs.
Without rules, the executive protection sector is open to misuse and unethical behavior, which can have detrimental effects on clients’ safety and well-being as well as the reputation of the sector. Standards serve as a way to hold individuals and organizations accountable for their activities and assist establish clear expectations for behavior and conduct.
Standards also help promote industry professionalism and quality by establishing best practices and benchmarks for performance. They encourage continuous improvement and innovation and help to ensure that protection services are effective and responsive to evolving threats and challenges.
The need for standards in the executive protection industry is critical, as they provide a foundation for ethical conduct, accountability, and professionalism. The industry must continue to develop and adopt standards that reflect best practices and the highest ethical and professional standards to ensure that agents and firms are held accountable for their actions.
Michael Julian is a second-generation security professional and private investigator with almost four decades of experience, beginning his career working for his father’s company, founded in 1967. Michael is the current C.E.O. of National Business Investigations, Inc., and its security division, M.P.S. Security & Protection. Michael is also the Creator of the A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Training Program and Author of 10 Minutes to Live: Surviving an Active Shooter Using A.L.I.V.E. He can be reached at MJulian@Security-MPS.com.