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A bodyguard (or close protection officer) is a type of security operative or government agent who protects a person or persons — usually a public, wealthy, or politically important figure(s) — from danger: generally theft, assault, kidnapping, homicide, harassment, loss of confidential information, threats, or other criminal offences.
Most important public figures such as heads of state, heads of government and governors are protected by several bodyguards or by a team of bodyguards from an agency, security forces, or police forces. In most countries where the Head of state is and have always been also their military leader, the leader's bodyguards have traditionally been Royal Guards, Republican Guards and other elite military units. Less-important public figures, or those with lower risk profiles, may be accompanied by a single bodyguard who doubles as a driver. A number of high-profile celebrities and CEOs also use bodyguards.
The role of a bodyguard depends on several factors. First, it depends on the role of a given bodyguard in a close protection team. A bodyguard can be a driver-bodyguard, a close-protection officer (who escorts the client), or part of an ancillary unit that provides support such as IED detection, electronic "bug" detection, counter-sniper monitoring, pre-searches facilities, and background-checks people who will have contact with the client. Second, the role of a bodyguard depends on the level of risk that the client faces. A bodyguard protecting a client at high risk of assassination will be focusing on very different roles (e.g., checking cars for IED devices, bombs, watching for potential shooters, etc.) than a bodyguard escorting a celebrity who is being stalked by aggressive tabloid photographers (e.g., the role will be to ask the photographers to maintain their distance and block the path of aggressive cameramen). Some bodyguards specialize in the close quarter protection of children of VIPs, to protect them from kidnapping or assassination, a role which is nicknamed "mannyguarding" (a pun on the word "nanny").
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