I served in the RMP for 7 years and consider myself to have had a successful career, achieving what very few have. Having served in Iraq on two extremely challenging tours, I then volunteered for anything I could. My section was selected to go to Belize for 6 weeks for jungle training and to be completely imbedded in to an Infantry Company as part of a Battlegroup Exercise. Following this I volunteered and was selected to go to Norway as part of a Multi National Military Police Exercise, which included Arctic Warfare Training followed by the teaching, training and mentoring of Conscript Military Police Soldiers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. My next venture within the RMP was to request a posting to the Weapons Intelligence Section in Northern Ireland, where my day to day duties consisted of attending and investigating all weapons related terrorist incidents in Northern Ireland. My next move was applying for the Covert Operations Team, which is the Army’s sole covert policing capability. After successfully passing a rigorous selection process, I then passed a number of Home Office Police Courses including Police Advanced Driving, Foot & Mobile Surveillance course, and Test Purchase Officer. I was then posted to the Covert Operations Team for over 3 years, conducting undercover and surveillance operations whilst investigating serious crime.
Anyway, after making the decision to leave HM Forces, it was now time to start putting myself out there and seeing what was available to me. I put all my effort in to working on my CV, practicing interview techniques, sending my CV off to what seemed like hundreds of companies, making endless phone calls and follow-up phone calls, mostly which resulted in dead-ends. My first role after leaving was teaching surveillance to Government Agencies. However it soon became apparent that there were massive government cutbacks on spending. Surveillance & paying for surveillance instructors were some of those cutbacks. I realized that teaching surveillance wasn’t going to be able to sustain paying bills, and general day to day life. I needed something else to do. I applied for quite a few other jobs in surveillance and even got offered full-time positions, but then more self-employed/sub-contract work came around in something that I never thought I would get involved in….Close Protection. I then decided to put my eggs in to the CP basket, whilst still maintaining surveillance work on an ad-hoc basis, barely scraping by. Eventually I got my SIA License and managed to start doing some work to keep some form of income getting in to my bank account. However, it was Door Supervision. That’s right, I left the RMP on popstar wages, and now I was a Doorman just scraping by, waiting for my opportunity. In what seemed like forever doing the doors, and the odd surveillance and CP job here and there, I eventually got my break. I got an interview for a short term gig in an African country, and got offered the job. I was now on the books for probably the main player in the country. They paid well. They were known for looing after their guys. After that interview, I stayed the night in London and went to a networking event the next day with another CPO. Whilst at this event I got speaking to a colleague of the individual who had interviewed me the previous day, and then he received a phone call. After him stepping away and having a discussion, I overheard the words “hold on, I might have a solution in front of me, I will ring you back”. He finished his phone call and then asked me how busy I was, and if I wanted to go on a job. Of course I said yes, and I asked where I was going. “Libya. 6-8 weeks, potentially longer.” “Ok, when do I go?” I asked. “Tonight” he replied. So that was me having been in London for another job, and then just happening to be in the right place at the right time and being deployed on a job. Although it didn’t turn out to be 6-8 weeks. It expanded in to being full-on rotations, and it is still my role 3 years later. I have had a few breaks here and there and done different jobs during my leave, including working for a number of high profile Middle Eastern Royal Families, Ultra High Net Worth clients and celebrities.
Obviously the point I am trying to make in all of this, is that sometimes you kick yourself and question if you made the right choice. Yes there will be bad times, and yes there will be good. And it also proves that it isn’t always about the interviews and the CV’s and all the hard work that you put in, sometimes it just comes down to speaking to the right person and being in the right place at the right time. Although, this is not to say that having a decent CV doesn’t help, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The only reason I got the interview for the other job in the first place was due to having my CV professionally written. If it had not been for this, then I have no doubt in my mind that I would be in a completely different situation than what I am now. On top of this, my CV has landed my in all the shorter term jobs during my leave rotations. When I see other CV’s and compare them to mine, it is a no brainer on who I would choose to write mine, definately a professional writer. The thing about getting your CV right, is actually getting your qualities across to the CV writer, and then having your CV sell you as an individual.
Now when it comes to selling yourself, this is also a major factor in the industry. The good old days of having an SIA license and First Aid At Work qualification are long gone, despite still being the minimum industry standard. Forget doing surveillance courses and save your money. If you want to get anywhere in CP, I have found that unless you have at least FPOS (I) and an IAM or ROSPA Advanced Driving Qualification for UK, and then additionally a MIRA or EMT (B) qualification for abroad, then you are unlikely going to get a sniff at work. Getting these is a (costly) must if you want to get anywhere in the CP industry. If you want to do surveillance then by all means get a surveillance qualification and specialize in that field. But if you want to do CP, then get something relevant and something that is actually required. I have probably been on one job where it has asked for a surveillance qualification for a “Protective Surveillance” role, these jobs are few and far between. Read historic job advertisements, see what is generally required, ask other operators what they have and what got them the job. I know that the company I work for in North Africa wont even look at guys who do not have FPOS (I) for the FCO contract, and certainly will not accept anything less than MIRA for commercial jobs where you are IBG for a client in some hotel somewhere.