Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Body Guard and Close Protection Specialist: Information for Writers with Rock Higgins


Fiona - Hi Rock, Would you please introduce yourself
            to my readers, and tell us how you spend your
            days and about your credentials? They are pretty

Rock - My full time job is as an Executive Protection
           Operator (Bodyguard) I work a 7 day on 7 day off
           rotation for an international businessman and his
            family. As I oversee 20 guys, it's pretty busy as we
            travel worldwide. So it is either working, planning
            or training plus much more. 

            My Certified Anti-Terrorism Specialist
            qualifications not only helps my full time role, 
            but when I work for myself. 
            I train businesses in anti-terrorism
            procedures. I also teach civilians, law
            enforcement, military and bodyguards in close
            quarter combat and now, of course, the writing.

Fiona - I have your book. Can you tell me about the impetus to write Meditations of a Modern Warrior.
            Whom did you want to reach?
Amazon Kindle Link

Rock - It didn't start out as a book. I had been doing a newsletter and had so many people asking for back
            issues. Someone said I should put it into a book form, and so I did. 
            The book is really for anyone regardless of  age, experience with violence/dangerous environment,
            or employment. Over 90% of being secure is mental, so the book mostly informs people how to
            look at themselves, their environment, and generally how they live or should live to be secure. It's
            getting the average person to take on the correct mind-set.

Fiona - Authors, if you are writing a a plot line that includes a safety detail, this is a great resource book for
            you. It includes all kinds of possible plot twists that Rock is preparing professionals to face. It will
            help you understand thought process and preparation as well as write those awesome combat

            Rock, let's pretend just that. I am writing a plot line where I have a heroine who needs protection
            because she is a daughter of an executive worth mega bucks. What do you tell her about what life
            will be like with close protection? 

Rock - Well I have been in that position so this is first-hand knowledge. As a young person, they don't
            want you there, and if I was in there shoes I would not want anyone cramping my style either. It is a
            master and slave relationship and a lot of give and take to build up trust. Depending on the threat,
            high medium or low risk, the environment that the daughter lives in and travels to, and also the people
            with whom she associates are going to impact how the operation is handled. 

            The more space you can give them when it is safe, the closer you can get when the situation changes.
            They are the masters (Employers) but when the shit hits the fan, it is a role reversal if they want to
             live or remain unharmed. Through the work of building trust, they learn to recognize from the
             bodyguard the signs of trouble and know how to behave and obey orders when command of the
             situation falls firmly onto the bodyguard. And they effectively become the slave. I use the code word
             'Harden Up' as an indicator from me to them that it's going serious, and they have a Pre-text fast
             dial to me with the same code word to get me running.

Fiona - "Harden up" - I LOVE that! Okay lets talk things going serious, can you give me an instance when
            you would say "harden up"? And another instance when the Principal would text you the "harden up"

Rock - I work as either an IBG (Individual Bodyguard) or as a team leader in charge of a team. 
            As an IBG, I am giving orders to my boss. As a team leader I am giving orders to my team. 
            As an IBG, unless there is a direct threat, it will be the opportunist who attacks. 
            Unarmed, edged or blunt trauma weapons or firearms. On my command of "Harden up," I need to
            simultaneously move the principal out of harms way and take on threat. 

            You can see this on the website under close protection and the latest blog post gives a bit more
            detail. (BLOG LINK to Rock Higgins Blog Article on this subject) With a team the nearest person
            to the threat gives the order to "Harden up," he takes on the threat while the team evacs the principal.

Fiona - And the text message?

Rock - For example in Moscow, you know you are in a nice place when doormen (bouncers) have AKs
           and chest riggs. A family friend's party, at the venue we don't know any of other guests, so there
           may be an indirect threat. Then a family friend turns up with three SUV type vehicles. Eight uniformed
           soldiers in urban camo de-bus and go into all round defense with AKs, and the family friend gets out
           and goes into the venue. As we are in the venue but not close, that is when the txt message comes in

Fiona - What do you call the person you are protecting is there a specific term?

Rock - Officially they are known as the Principal, actually known as the Boss

Fiona - What if it's not the principal? What if it's his wife or kid?

Rock - Kids get called by their name, wives or husbands Mr. or Mrs. surname.

Fiona - Can you tell me some of the criteria that would put someone in a low
             medium of high risk category?

Rock - Some risk criteria:

Low risk
* City / town being visited is relatively free from crime. 
* Emergency services in place with fast effective response
* There is no direct threat to family member. 
* Normal close protection security procedures in place 
Link to V.I.P.A. Website

Medium risk -
*City / town being visited has normal / average 
  crime rate. 
* Emergency services in place are slow or only
   respond to certain crimes /emergencies. 
* Terrorists have been active in the area in the
* No direct threat against family member. 
* Opportunist attack is more prevalent. 
* Contingency plans to be put into place. 

High risk
* Crime is higher than normal. 
* Opportunist attack at higher rate with foreign
   nationals targeted. 
* Unsafe or no-go areas in area visited.
* Direct threat against family member. 
* Terrorists active within the last year. 
* Emergency services slow, lack moral, equipment, 
  or are unable to cope with crime levels. 
* Contingency plans to be implemented

 Extreme Risk -
* These are personal risk assessments which are
   combined with a country risk level to give a more
   in-depth picture of threats faced.

Fiona - Has one of your young people (or older
            people for that matter) ever tried to ditch

Rock - Young people trying to do runner. Yes that
            happens a  lot of the times, especially where
            boyfriends were concerned.

Fiona - Hahaha Can you blame them?

Rock - Nope, but it's a right pain in the backside

Fiona - I bet - Do you have a "talk" with the boy?

Rock - Yes once the guys knew who we were and what we did, they usually were on side. But there
             have been some fantastic escape plans that I am sure prisoners of war would be proud of.

Fiona - LOL I actually clapped my hands when I read your last answer. Can you tell us a story?

Rock - Without giving too much away... 
            We could not figure out how one young
            person was getting out of a secure building, 
            we even actually made a joke about how
            they were getting out that in fact was true. 
            I was asked to load some luggage for a
            family friend into a car, a suitcase which I
            struggled to lift. I got another to help me and
            as we were putting the case into the boot I
            said wouldn't it be funny if such and such
            was in here. Well it turned out that was how
            they were getting out of the building. The
            next time I was asked, I opened the case
            before it left the building, and a head and
            shoulders popped out. Although serious, I
            couldn't help but laugh at how ingenious they were.

           I could actually write a book on all of the funny stories without giving any operational details away,
           maybe in the future.

Fiona - You should! Very cool that you are living what we are writing.

 Fiona - Rock, can you describe your favorite scar and tell us the story behind it?

Rock - That has got me stumped. Through all of my military career, my security work and all of the insane
            contact sports I play, I am pretty scar-less. I do though have a dislocated little finger that is out of
            shape from playing rugby and every time I look at it, I laugh as I remember it was snapped in half 
            and bent backwards. At the time, I let out a very girl-y high-pitched squeal which I am to this day
            embarrassed about.

Fiona - I'd pay good money for a video of that!

Rock - There is no video of me squealing, and I think I would say no there is no video of me squealing even
            if there was LOL.

Fiona  - Rock, thank you for the pleasure of your company and for sharing all of this wonderful information. 

Readers, you can catch up with Rock through:
Linkedin - Paul 'Rock' Higgins CMAS, SAC Dip
Facebook - Paul 'Rock' Higgins CMAS, SAC dip
Website -

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Police Dive Teams - How to Find People and Evidence Under Water: Information for Writers


Oxygen toxicity occurs when the lungs take in ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last fall at the Writers' Police Academy, I attended a seminar in how the police dives for evidence and conducts searches for bodies that are underwater.

The divers that we interviewed were all police officers; they trained on a regular basis as a water recovery team. When a need arose, they would leave their normal workday duties and dive.

These divers were involved in cases that included:
* Evidence recovery
* Submerged body recovery, including:
   `victims of a crime

Teams might also participate in:
* Inspecting the hulls of ships in
   anti-narcotics operations
* Explosive Ordnance Disposal (bombs)
   in anti-terrorism efforts

The team that I interviewed maintained a minimum of three dive members per event.
* A below water surface diver
* An attendant diver who stayed on the surface to assist the underwater diver and to signal/communicate
* A supervisor who works on the surface to direct the operation

Video Quick Study (6:05) Norfolk, England but this is the same information that we received.

Most of the diving investigations are done in highly hazardous environments which might include
* Cold temperatures
* Zero visbility
* Contaminated waters including chemical hazards
* Sharp objects that the divers must feel with their hands since they can not see
* Entanglement and entrapment objects such as submerged trees, rocks, and debris

Video Quick Study (3:32) What it looks like under there.
Video Quick Study (8:21) Difficulties of suiting up, moving, and seeing underwater.

This is picture of one of our instructors, "Cookie." Cookie's technique for keeping the heebie-jeebies at bay while he's groping through pitch-black water for a dead body includes singing as loudly as he can. That's why he makes extra bubbles.

Video Quick Study (3:34) includes information on equipment, sonar, finding a car

US Navy 090628-N-5710P-319 A U.S. Navy diver c...
 A U.S. Navy diver conducts a dive supporting Infinite Response 09, a bilateral exercise between the U.S. Navy and the naval forces of a Middle Eastern country (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The team might be called to investigate:
* Natural water ways such as oceans, rivers,
   and ponds
* Dams
* Caves
* Sewage ponds - there's a nasty plot twist for

In some cases sonar is used to reduce diver exposure. This includes side-scan sonar and radial sonar. The sonar can help locate:
* Vessels
* Vehicles
* Planes
* Bodies
* Evidence

Search Patterns:

graphic from Wikipedia

Arc Search

* Also known as a pendulum search and a fishtail search
* The diver has a rope that is fed to him by his attendant diver.
* The diver will start on one side of a designated line (such as a shore
    line) and swim/grope through the water at the far reach of the line.
* At the end of the arc, the diver turns to go back the other way. The
   line is then released at a measured increment, knotted to maintain
   a record, and fed to the diver. For example: if the diver is looking for
   a bicycle the attendant might release a foot and a half of slack between
   arc rotations. If it is a gun, the arcs are much tighter.
* Once the diver has searched the area that can be conveniently reached
   with the rope line, the center point is moved to search another area. 
* This search works best when the general area is known.

graphic from Wikipedia

Circular Search

If the team was out in the water, away from a shore line, they would use a circular grid pattern.

This operates in a similar way as the arc search.
* Fixed central point
* Diver swims 360 degrees before his line is 

Other Search Patterns

* Jackstay - Has divers swimming a straight line along a shore then moving out a length to swim another
   straight line.
* Snagline - When an object is large enough, like a car or fridge, a line can be held in parallel swimmers'
   hands so that it will catch on the item.

English: An Engineer-Diver with KB Bandmask
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Underwater communication 

Can take place via
* Line signals 
* Communicators

Once an Object is found

* The diver sends up a signal marker
* The GPS coordinates are documented
* The item is elevated using air balloons

Video Quick Study (2:21) You can see the lift bags bringing up a car.

A Body 

* Does not lay flat on the floor of the water. The upper half is held at an angle buoyed by air trapped in the
* Will float after about seven days as the body fills with gases
* After several more days as cavities are punctured by fish, birds, and other animals, the body will sink back
   into the water.
* The rate of decomposition depends mostly on water temperatures. The colder the water, the longer the
   body will remain intact.
* The deceased is bagged underwater.
   `This is for the sake of the survivors watching from shore
   `This helps to maintain any evidence that will help investigators

Video Quick Study (2:26) Divers talk about their experience and shows arc, and signalling.
Video Quick Study (3:29) Canadian and American divers certify in ice diving. YIPES! 

Video LONG Study (47:00) If you are writing a SCUBA scene you may want to spend the time learning 
                                about the problems of hypothermia, dry suit, and choices.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Escaping Handcuffs - Information for Writers


Handcuffs Clejuso 12 made from stainless steel.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.
Remember it is always best to get your heroine free as soon as possible. Escape becomes more and more difficult the longer she is left in a captive capacity from a strategic, physical, and psychological standpoint. (Also makes for a slow plot line).

Technique 1 - Breaking the Cuff 

To be used if the heroine has no tools either in her EDC kit or homemade.

Your heroine CAN use this technique. She would be
using torque to produce the pressure required,
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
not upper body strength. This works if handcuffed in the front and the back. Obviously anything in front is easier, simply because there is more room to move the arms around. It all depends on how difficult you wanted to make things for her. (This technique is from Kelly Alwood, SERE Instructor)

NOTE: If you are mentioning the brand of handcuff for some reason, there is a difference in how they will break and the difficulty factor. For ease of writing, I would suggest a higher quality cuff.

* In high quality handcuffs, the Rockwell Hardness of
   the steel makes them fragile and brittle. They will
   sheer at the line.
* Low quality hancuffs the steel is so mild that the
   heroine will have to get a break in the link, thus
   making them more difficult to break.

The Technique:

1. Rough up the metal
   * Dirt will help absorb the oil and help get the
     chains to bind up.
   * Any kind of surface that roughs up the links to make them less slippery and help them to bind up.
2. At the rotation pin, the heroine will want to stuff these holes on either side with anything she can get in
    there to help lock up the chains
3. Leaving her non-dominant hand still, the chains will droop downward.
4. Rotate the chains until they lock up.
   * In the front presentation, she would do a visual check to make sure that she has not caught two links
      across one (three together). She wants to torque only two. (Three will hurt the wearer.)
5. Position her hands so that instead of coming together in prayer form, that they will pass each other. This
    movement produces the physical tension on the metal that is required.
6. Move hands past each other to snap the metal

*NOTE - this will not remove the cuffs from the wrists it will merely separate the hands again. Use this technique if you want tell-tale cuffs left on the wrist.

This technique in action (14:26 - but move 13:00)
Breaking techniques (2:42)

Technique 2 - Pick the lock.

English: : Universal handcuff key
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Note: It is NOT righty-tighty/lefty-loosy here. It is
   inward opens outward locks. The direction you turn
   will be different left to right

1. Easiest - have a key on you. If your heroine is in a
    place where she is in danger, or in a job that might
    endanger her, she might have a key (cheap and easily
    accessible) sewn into the hems of her clothing or
    taped with duct tape to the inside of her watch.
2. A little harder - have a shim. A heroine can make a
    shim using a barrette, an easy EDC that she can wear
     under her hair without detection.
3. Make a tool like a paper clip or bobby pin. The
    bobby pin is preferred for its tensile strength and can
    easily be an EDC that a heroine puts under her hair.
    This would not be seen by an abductor.


1. If her hands are behind her back move them to the front.If she is not attached to something preempting this move, then the heroine should stand and work her hands down over her hips and bottom. Sit down and work to get  the legs through the arms. Problems can arise if some injury, such as a broken leg, makes this more difficult. Boots make this more difficult. Removing the heroine's shoes will help her get her feet through. So she should try to toe off her day shoe. Knowing how you want this to play out will make a difference in how you dress your heroine for success or complication. (Blog Link to dressing your heroine)

QUICK STUDY - video of me moving cuffs from behind my back to front position. **Turn your sound to mute so you don't have to listen to the ke-yups. Those trained exhalation sounds help reduce anxiety/panic in a fight, keep the fighter breathing, and help anesthetize pain from in-coming blows.

2. Create a tool. (No tools? Try Technique 1)
   * If using a bobby pin, strip the plastic protective end off with her teeth.
   * A Paper clip is easier to bend but this can also create problems.

A Bobby-pin
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    * Pick the double lock first - use counter-
       clockwise sweeps moving from 9-5. She
       should hear a metallic click.
    * Work on the ratcheting mechanism

Working the ratcheting mechanism can be done in two ways
1. Insert your tool into the key hole and bend it into a right angle. Then use this to push the mechanism up
    and out of the way.
2. Feed the tool between the mechanisms and close the cuffs tighter while to insert the tool further until it lifts
    the internal pin away from the teeth like a shim.

Picking is PREFERRED because when you shim you have to ratchet down on the cuff making it tighter. If she fails, she can cut off circulation to her hand. *NOTE ratcheting too tight is prevented by a double lock. You CAN NOT shim a double lock.


Video 1 (10:00) This has a clear cuff so you can see the inner workings as well as the use of a key, shim,
and paper clip.

Video 2 (11:39) Combat Application Technique Handcuff Restraint Escape - excellent hostage
              scenario is silent in the first half of this video the second half has audio and is taught school-style.
 Video 3 (6:49) Shimming
Video 4 (11:56) Picking a double lock. This method seems the EASIEST.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.