Since the murder of Sweden’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh in 2003, the number of close protection officers has roughly doubled.
Today, the Service employs around 140 CPOs. This increase has been driven not only by changes to our remit but also by changes made to our working methods, e.g. by more frequently providing different types of protective measures to those in central government who are not subject to permanent close protection. Another addition concerns the incorporation of so-called latent threats into our threat assessments.
A close protection officer (CPO) is mainly tasked with keeping their protectee safe from any type of violence. However, should an attack or any other form of assault happen, the officer must know how to handle the situation. This requires strong physical, psychological and interpersonal skills. All our CPOs are trained police officers with at least 4 years’ experience (including National Police Academy training). When recruited, they undergo a comprehensive set of tests focusing on their personality, physical condition, vision, intellectual skills, weapons handling, driving skills as well as their ability to assess different types of situations. To qualify as a CPO, they must also pass ten weeks of intense training followed by further training on a yearly basis. Annual tests of their physical fitness and other necessary skills are also mandatory. CPOs work on a temporary basis for the Security Service by taking leave of absence from their respective police authorities.