Close protection unit (CPU) is a specialist unit that guards individuals and families against crime; close protection in London is an integral part of the city’s security strategy. The number of incidents involving crime of opportunity is one of the highest in the UK with over one million crimes reported every year. Crime on the increase for many reasons such as the increasing number of younger adults living in the capital, the amount of petty crime such as theft and muggings which occur without forethought or prior warning, and the lack of good quality youth centres and youth accommodation that are being properly serviced. All of these factors have a combined effect on crime in the capital and close protection in London is an essential way to reduce crime and protect the general public.
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The activities of the specialist Close Protection Unit (CPU) are divided into four key stages: the early warning sign, the initial response, the patrol and the last defense. Each stage is designed to concentrate on a different aspect of crime in order to create the maximum deterrent as well as the highest levels of security for the staff involved. The first response stage includes the arrival of the police officers and a number of plain-clothed male police officers who are positioned in high visibility within the city centre. These officers are then followed by specialist CPU officers who will assess the situation and if required take the required actions based on the intelligence provided.
Once the initial response has been conducted the patrol then begins. This is where the criminal is challenged directly by the officer who is armed with the highest standards of personal safety. It is at this point where close protection officers are required to shadow the criminal and once the criminal is in sight the officer can react and use the highest level of force. Throughout the day the highest standards of personal safety training will be carried out by specially trained officers who work in teams and take turns to patrol the area. All of these techniques are designed to ensure the maximum protection for the clients and staff involved and have been put in place to ensure the highest levels of safety and security for those working in the area.