How private security became the new status symbol for the mega wealthy
Mr One Per Center waved as the convoy of armoured Range Rovers with tinted windows swooshed down the drive.
“Well done, darling,” he said to his wife, Miranda, in recognition of the epic effort that she (and Mrs Chudleigh) had put into the much-postponed lunch for Dave and Sam. “Very impressive!”
“Yes, lunch turned out all right in the end,” sighed Miranda with relief.
“No, impressive that as a former PM one has all that security – the Range Rovers to ferry you about, forever,” he said, though the crab tart on its own merited a Michelin star. “You’d never have to worry about parking. Or drink driving!”
He was thoughtful as they went inside the house. He had a hobby farm, a family office, a hedge fund in Mayfair, a helicopter, a shag pad on the park. But Dave’s protection team had made him realise something with thudding clarity: everyone – in the sense of all the apex predators he competed with – had the above too. Now, it was having security that was the signifier of next-level status and he didn’t even have a nightwatchman on his property, let alone full-time ex-military goons packing heat.
In prime London, private security patrols were routine. One of his friends told him that two UHNWIs on their street in W11 paid for a man in a van to drive slowly round and round the garden square all night. Yet, if the man in the van saw a gang torch and burgle another house on the square, he would ignore it. He would only intervene if the crime was taking place at the residence of a man who paid his wages. Mr One Per Center got that and he had a dream. He had a dream of checking into The Pierre in New York alongside a 6ft glamazon trained in martial arts or arriving at Oswald’s in Mayfair with a man built like an American fridge who talked into an earpiece. Advertisement
In the kitchen, he carved himself another sliver of the astonishing quiche. “When things get back to normal, I want to travel, I want to live again, but I do want to be safe.” He knew Miranda would laugh if he told her he wanted to be a global nomad with a security concierge who knew his every move in advance. After all, a security detail didn’t come cheap, which was the whole point. Even Prince Andrew’s daughters’ protection team had cost half a mill a year until all that stopped in 2011.
“That’s what we all want, isn’t it?” she said. “Anyway, who’d want to kill or kidnap you?”