Celebrities in the US are spending millions of dollars to help protect their privacy from the paparazzi, using the skills of their security teams to escape unwanted attention.
Security teams often include veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, ex-UFC fighters and retired NFL players.
They are trained in “executive protection” and evasive driving, and use vehicles with blacked-out windows and decoy cars.
Teams organise the use of underground car parks and take alternative routes when repeating journeys.
Celebrities are referred to by their security teams as “principals” and their tactics include booking numerous rooms in different hotels.
Very occasionally, they have used lookalikes of a principal to trick the paparazzi.
Guards have firearms permits and are trained in first aid, and some even undergo psychological assessments, and they advise clients against publicising their upcoming locations on social media.
In ‘fear for their life’
According to Kent Moyer, chief executive of Los Angeles-based World Protection Group, which offers “gold standard private security protection for high net worth individuals”, more celebrities are seeking protection amid rising crime and a series of high-profile break-ins.
Some famous people, he said, are in “fear for their life”.
The company carries out 3D mapping of homes and even uses drones to assess security weaknesses for clients who pay up to $1 million a year.
Celebrities are perhaps most vulnerable when they are travelling on the roads between destinations, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were on Tuesday night.
The first line of protection is a bodyguard, and there has long been an unofficial rivalry between some celebrities to employ the biggest.
However, security experts warn against employing untrained bodybuilders or muscular friends as guards as they are more likely to push the paparazzi or break their cameras, which can lead to an expensive legal case.
Trained security employees go through what is known as “Bodyguard 101”, where they learn crowd control and protective driving to escape a scene quickly.
Desperation leads to aggression
A former celebrity photographer in the US told the Telegraph that the chasing of celebrities on the roads was being fuelled by an increasing financial desperation among some paparazzi.
“A lot of them basically spend a lot of time driving for Uber and Lyft,” he said. “They have a camera in the trunk and when an opportunity arises to make money they get the camera out.
“Because it’s a rare opportunity, perhaps that’s why they’re more aggressive and dangerous.
“If they don’t get the picture, they don’t get paid, so there’s always that hunger for the next set of pictures.
“There will always be some of those who are more aggressive in their actions than others, and that’s where the danger is,” he added.
The photographer suggested that to avoid danger, celebrities should stop and have their picture taken.
“If people [celebrities] play ball and have their picture taken, there’s not that hunger, that persistence from the paparazzi,” he said.