Moscow is full of security guards, bodyguards, and tough looking men in sharp suits who guard the entrances to each hotel building, office block, and shop in the city. In this article Passport travels into the world of the security guard, by visiting one of the biggest private security firms in Moscow, Security 2000.
By Sophie Larder
We have doubtless all seen the men (and indeed women) of Security 2000, probably without realizing it. Their uniform is a dark tailored suit with a deep blood red tie, and a tiny badge with diagonal black crosses; the distinctive insignia of Security 2000. An ever expanding operation, Security 2000 now has at least three separate departments: security for businesses, the ”Helping Hand” department, and the private bodyguard service.
The first stop on our tour of Security 2000 is the ”Helping Hand” department. This is Security 2000’s fast and safe response system. It consists of separate crews of two or three guards, who will come to the assistance of ”Helping Hands” clients in any situation, anywhere in the city in the minimum time possible. Anna Adzhemyan of Security 2000 explained to Passport which emergencies they deal with on a day to day basis: “Traffic hold-ups and accidents are our most common calls, but we deal with problems with the police, robberies, burglaries, various criminal situations, and even problems with neighbours. Our crews are permanently driving in strategic routes around Moscow, attempting to cover the routes of our clients, so that when help is needed they can get there in the quickest time possible. Our crews also carry semi professional fi rst aid kits, and are fully trained in their administration, so if necessary can provide pre-medical treatment while you are waiting for the ambulance.”
Immense organization goes into this service. Clients must provide an identifying photograph. Back at the centre the phone is manned twenty four hours a day, with specially trained translators on hand to relay information between client and other parties if need be.
The crews themselves are the most highly trained professionals in the business. When not out on patrol, guards will spend hours in physical, weapons, and English language training. Before they are hired, potential guards must undergo rigorous phychological testing.
This emphasis on English is due to the fact that 95% of their clients are foreign companies, foreign businessmen and their families. Families are well catered for, with booklets prepared for children telling them what to call in an emergency.
However, Security 2000 covers a much wider area. When it first opened in 1996 as the first private security company in Russia, it provided security for factories, and French supermarket Auchan, and the Mosenka complex. Security 2000 continues this work, with an impressive array of companies under its belt, including the new Ritz Carlton Hotel, Caterpillar and Nestle factories. With over nine hundred employees, the company can also arrange security for mass events. Their private bodyguard service is alwyas in tenant, and can be made available twenty four hours a day for advanced personal security.
Asking Anna what the future holds for Security 2000, she stresses the emphasis on using up-to-date technology available for the clients’ safety. “We utilize every mode of transport possible to combat Moscow’s traffic problem. Our crews will use scooters or take the metro to make it to our clients on time.” Each crew car, she tells me, is equipped with a lap top, cell phone and GPS, as well as Security 2000’s own radio system. Anna adds, “Even if all Moscow is blacked out, our service still operates on a special electricity system so our clients can be located through our tightly guarded clients database. Security 2000 is like having the most comprehensive insurance policy that could possibly save your life.”