The Concept Of Self-Defense Beyond General Knowledge (Part 2)

Remember the fictional stories of Jonah and Felicia, in our last series. Well, this is a continuation of where we stopped. Nevertheless, in our two stories the defense applied here was the defense permitting reasonable force to be used to defend another, while doing one’s job.So the burning question now is, are bodyguards allowed to defend their clients with lethal force? YES.

Generally speaking, in the U.S., a person acting as private security or anyone acting lawfully to protect is permitted to use deadly force if his or her life is in jeopardy or the life of another. Any force that commensurates with the threat is permissible and no duty to retreat is expected. For example, a soldier/policeman/fireman or a bodyguard in Jonah’s case.

In Croatia, Bodyguards often have training in firearms tactics, unarmed combat, tactical driving, and first aid. In multi-agent units (like those protecting a head of state) one or more bodyguards may have training in specific tasks, such as providing a protective escort, crowd screening, and control, or searching for explosives or electronic surveillance devices (“bugs”). Bodyguards also learn how to work with other security personnel to conduct threat or risk assessments and analyze potential security weaknesses.


The military forces in many countries offer close protection training for the members of their own armed forces who have been selected to work as bodyguards to officers or heads of state (e.g., the British RMP – Royal Military Police, Close Protection Unit). In the private sector, there are a vast number of private bodyguard training companies, which offer training in all aspects of close protection relative to their local laws and threat level, including the legal aspects of physical protection (e.g., use of force, use of deadly force), how to escort clients, driving drills, searching facilities and vehicles, etc.

In the United Kingdom, the industry is highly regulated by the Security Industry Authority and requires an individual to obtain a level 3 vocational close protection qualification and pass an enhanced criminal record background check in addition to attending a recognized first-aid course prior to a license being issued. Most UK security firms will request that operatives hold an SIA license, even if operations are conducted outside of the UK. The SIA model has been adopted and modified by nearby countries Ireland and France. In France bodyguards require a CNAPS (Conséil National des Activitées Privée de Sécurité) license to operate legally as a bodyguard. Both the SIA and CNAPS have come under heavy criticism over the years for failing to assist license holders and meet their primary objectives of “raising the standards” in the private security industry.

Depending on the laws in a bodyguard’s jurisdiction and on which type of agency or security service they are in, bodyguards may be unarmed, armed with a less-lethal weapon such as a pepper spray. We shall continue in our next series.

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