What Does a Custom Protection Officer® Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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A Custom Protection Officer® (CPO) provides security services, armed or unarmed, for facilities, individuals, and events. These security professionals meet specific requirements to bear the CPO certification, including training by a parent organization as well as experience or credentials in security-related topics. Clients can contract for security on an as-needed basis or as part of an overall security plan to address ongoing concerns. The Custom Protection Officer® is part of the team that provides security and audits procedures to make sure they remain consistent and effective.

G4S, the company responsible for the Custom Protection Officer® program, requires applicants to have a college degree in criminal justice or a related subject, or experience in law enforcement. This can include military experience in any branch as well as work with police departments, sheriff’s offices, and other agencies that require representatives to undergo law enforcement training. Entrants into the program also complete in-house training to learn about the procedures and protocols used by G4S in its security operations.

Armed and unarmed positions are typically available. Unarmed guards can conduct surveillance, sweep sites before events, and may use protection dogs and other tools as part of their work. They can participate in controlling and securing perimeters, monitoring stores for theft, and similar activities. Armed guards provide similar services, but may work in more sensitive environments or settings where armed personnel are deemed necessary.


Shifts for a Custom Protection Officer® can vary, but may include overnight guard duty in some settings. Some jobs require travel, as security personnel may need to move with their subjects. In the event a security threat does develop, the officer needs to neutralize it effectively, while complying with any legal requirements. Security officers are not law enforcement and need to follow protocol when they handle individuals or situations that appear to pose a risk. The Custom Protection Officer® training includes discussions in how to handle situations where people may be in danger.

This job should not be confused with that of a customs officer. Customs officers represent their governments at borders and shipping centers. They inspect luggage and shipments for signs of contraband and may confiscate goods that are dangerous or illegal. This can include objects from fruit that might carry diseases to endangered animals being smuggled for sale. Positions with government agencies can be open to a variety of applicants as long as they are able to pass background checks and meet basic educational standards.


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