Capital of Culture fuels demand for bodyguards
Mar 26 2008 by Laura Sharpe, Liverpool Daily Post

St George's Hall on Culture launch night

CELEBRITIES flocking to Liverpool during the Capital of Culture celebrations are increasing demand for the services of accredited bodyguards.

Security firms in Merseyside are being inundated with requests for the services of close protection officers as the profile of the city reaches a high.

With tourism, construction and regeneration projects underway, many Merseyside firms are already seeking the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor

Scheme (ACS), a recognised hallmark of quality for private security services.

GDM Facilities and Training, based in Duke Street, which handles security for Liverpool and Everton football clubs, is expecting more protection requests as the influx of visitors to the city grows.

Tony Hughes, former Royal Guardsman and owner of GDM, said: “The high profile of the city has raised the threat level and people are looking for professional companies with accreditation to protect them from that threat.

“The ACS accreditation is hard to get, the companies have to be properly managed and all staff vetted for criminal records. And staff with ACS are trained in security, fire procedures, conflict manage-ment and health and safety.”

GDM, was among the first 50 companies across the country to receive the ACS and the first in Merseyside to open a bodyguard training school.

Mr Hughes added: “Celeb-rities may want bodyguards for show, but in the corporate world it’s all about being discreet.

“In the past, all the VIPs coming to Liverpool had to bring their own close protection officers with them – but now they don’t have to.”

Merseyside Police urged all private security firms to apply for ACS accreditation last year to legitimise the industry, following sinister dealings on building sites across the city.

The Home Office is now launching a campaign for security firms to apply for accreditation, which has only been given to 442 companies.

Gail Porter, deputy regional director for the Home Office in the North West, said: “It is really important that those who live, work and visit Liverpool feel safe and I therefore applaud the progress being made in adopting the highest standards for security employees.

“And I would encourage all companies involved in providing security services to adopt these standards.”

Liverpool City Council’s executive member for community safety, Councillor Colin Eldridge, said: “At a time when Liverpool is undergoing an unprecedented amount of regeneration, this scheme will provide developers with a choice of reputable companies.”