(Today’s guest column from MSG (ret) Chuck Simpson, Green Beret and Certified Protection Specialist)

What is Surveillance Detection? The techniques employed by the Protection Team to deter, prevent or stop surveillance on the Principal or Detail Members. Who conducts surveillance?? Press/Paparazzi, Stalkers, Fans, Criminals, Terrorist and Corporate Intelligence Agencies, this is the short list.

What is surveillance? It is the systematic observation by covert or overt means of person or location by visual, photographic or technical means. We all know before we conduct an Operation of any type, regardless if it is Military, Police or even a Protection Detail, we conduct a Reconnaissance before any operation, which sometimes will require us to do Surveillance.  

Any operational/attack plan requires a gathering of intelligence on any targets, to be effective. The individual / Team gathers this intelligence by using surveillance over a period of time, which is done before conducting an Operation. Intelligence that the Surveillance Team, might or will be collecting, Identify the Security Team/Detail, assess strength and weaknesses, identify who has weapons and what type, identify vehicles (Armor/Un-Armor) (Level of Armor), Assess the mode of Operation of the Security Teams, Identify capability of the Security Team and Identify routines and pattern set by the target.

The surveillance team conducts this by using Foot Surveillance, Vehicle Surveillance, Static Surveillance and/or Technical Surveillance. Now, what is Surveillance Detection? They are the techniques employed by the surveillance team to deter, prevent or stop surveillance on the Principal or Team. Techniques, you may be using will be consist of a Surveillance Detection Route (SDR), Static Site/Fixed Point Site, and /or Convoy Method. And why we use these techniques, will be to determine surveillance status, in order to protect the Principal and to learn more about their surveillance Techniques/determine who is conducting the surveillance.

They are five (5) steps while conducting Surveillance Detection,

Step 1: Observe, the ability to take specific notice, recognize, and accurately describe someone or something. It is a skill, it is not a natural ability, needs to be learned and have to be improved with practice.

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Step 2: Recognize, you will be able to recognize surveillance, but using the technique of Time, Distance and Chane of Directions.

Step 3: Confirm, by multiple sightings, using time, and distance.

Step 4: Report, WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW (did the surveillance detection team notice them)

Date (including the day of the week). Time and Place surveillance detected

Number and descriptions (including dress) of the surveillance.

Make, model, color, identifying anomalies, and, if possible, the license number of any vehicles involved. Any equipment noted.

Step 5: Analyze. Once the security detail is finished for the day, the detail will meet with the other team members and discuss what each team member has seen during the detail.  

Three major elements you will use to detect surveillance will be:

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  • Time, what times did you detect surveillance
  • Distance, where did you detect them, in different locations
  • Change of Direction, how many turns did they take with you, through multi-turns.

The Protection Detail will use different security methods designed to aid in the detection of surveillance on an individual or premises. This involves two distinct methods related to surveillance detection support:

The Static method: The selection and use of static locations along a vehicle or foot SDR to detect surveillance operating against a Principal. These locations should provide a maximum range of observation, normally incorporated into the principal’s route. The principal and detail follow a prearranged route on a precise time schedule past static sites. The observer at the static site will signal the Protection Detail in a positive or negative manner along the route. A Static Site should only be used to enhance the security of the Principal and only if the environment permits. All Persons occupying a Static Site should be trained in Techniques of Surveillance Methods.

The Convoy method: A colleague follows a Principal and Protection Detail in a vehicle, and/or on foot to detect possible surveillance.


— Tied to the Principal.

— The team moves with the Principal/Detail.

— The team operates in the open.

DO NOT try to lose surveillance, because we want to:

— Identify the surveillance.
— Learn all we can about them.

Thank You, Stay Alert, Stay Safe!!
Charles “Chuck” Simpson, C.P.S
Protect Consultant Inc.
[email protected]