Meet the former Royal Marine who ensures successful people can live without fear

If your family was in danger, you would certainly want Richard Christian in your corner.

Richard Christian

The former Royal Marine has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, protected vessels from piracy, acted as a chauffeur and bodyguard for a FTSE 100 CEO and undertaken close protection training in South Africa.

His business, BluSkills, is built around a simple belief; that being successful shouldn’t place you at risk from crime.

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The Ripon-based specialist security services business, which is underpinned by military expertise, is designed to help clients protect the things they cherish, so they can live without fear.

“The ethics and integrity I learned in the services has carried through into my work in this sector,’’ said Mr Christian. “The same principle of risk analysis applies. It’s about keeping the risk as low as reasonably possible while achieving the required objectives or facilitating the clients’ needs.”

He was inspired to set up BluSkills by his friend, the businessman Ritchie Fiddes, whose life story tells you how far a commitment to self-improvement can take you. Mr Fiddes, who is from a modest background, sold the enterprise he shared with business partner Simon Chappell in 2013, allowing him to retire at 34 and establish his own thoroughbred stud.

“In the Royal Marines, teamwork was vital,” said Mr Christian. “Perhaps the biggest thing it taught me was around ethics and integrity and having a strong set of values. You need a wide range of skillsets. To outsiders, it might seem straightforward but on the ground things are very complex. People want to feel secure and you need to understand their lives to achieve this.”

In Afghanistan, for example, it was important to develop a “situational awareness” which shapes how you interact with local people.

“You have to ask the question, ‘What’s the atmosphere where we are? Is it hostile?,’’ he said.

After leaving the forces, Mr Christian received close protection training with Ronin in South Africa, as he sought to carve out a new career path.

“In South Africa, the environment was very interesting - there were a lot more people carrying firearms and lots of crime and cases of vehicle hijacking.’’ he said.

He discovered a natural skill for keeping people away from danger, which built on his years of service in the Royal Marines.

He recalled: “When acting as a bodyguard and chauffeur to the FTSE 100 CEO, I focused on being discreet and ensuring they were not exposed to risk, I also focused on how safe they felt at home.

“There was also a period when there was a spike in chemical and oil tankers being captured by pirates. I was responsible for protecting the vessel, making sure the crew were all singing from the same hymn sheet in terms of security and emergency procedures, as part of piracy prevention. The people involved in piracy are often poor and desperate fishermen who are used by organised gangs.”

BluSkills Ltd started trading in 2014 and has steadily built up a client base around the North of England.

Mr Christian said: “This type of service is quite common in London and there are lots of people we could work with in Yorkshire. Security in general is quite an emotional subject. I would like to be primarily focused on prevention, but it’s like insurance, a service people want when things go wrong.

“I often speak to people who have been victims of crime and they are looking to rebuild themselves emotionally. For a lot of people the memory will always stay. It’s really important to understand why they want to work with us. We work out how we can make them feel safer.”

“It’s also important to establish their legitimacy. The police have recently had a lot of success breaking encrypted communication channels linked to crime and drugs. This saw some individuals who appeared legitimate business people being arrested for their involvement.

“You have to be absolutely certain that your services aren’t being used by those engaged in criminal activity.”

“In Yorkshire, we work with people who are successful in business but are not publicly recognisable.”

Unsurprisingly, he is keen to provide work for people from military backgrounds.

“They are very hard working; you can work extremely long hours when in the field,’’ he added. “ They have strong ethics and integrity and can be placed in positions where trust is everything because they understand the importance of it.

“They have also experienced and proved our tactics on operations in hostile theatres.”

The pandemic has led to a short-term reduction in trade which is partly due to the fact that his clients have not been able to travel.

“People’s habits have changed and we seem to be in a bit of a bubble. and we have not seen the full effects of COVID-19,’’ he said.

“A hostile financial environment can lead to an increase in criminal activity. Research from organisations like the UN indicates there is a spike in robberies and vehicle thefts during a downturn.

“Trade has steadily picked up over the last few weeks. I would like to diversify and add value with security training. People like cleaners and gardeners can be trained to make the home a safer place.

“We educate families too. People in Yorkshire want to be independent but secure.

"Training can help them achieve this and gain confidence, we have seen great results.”

“The fact that Leeds United have returned to the Premier League will also provide a boost for the region. There is a massive awareness of the club around the world, even among children playing on the streets of Afghanistan.”

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