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Personal Safety and Security for High-Risk Individuals

High-risk individuals may be exposed to threats to their personal safety and security. If you are a high-risk individual, this guidance aims to help you protect yourself and your family from a range of threats

Last Updated 15 April 2024


This content is intended for individuals who face heightened risks affecting their personal safety and security. Threats may arise from national security concerns, such as those from state-backed actors or terrorists as well as from others with malicious intent. This includes activities such as espionage, recruitment, covert and overt influence (e.g. coercion), sanctions and physical or psychological harm.  

The impact of such incidents is not just to the individual, there is also a cumulative impact on organisations and society. This may include:

  • Undermining freedom of speech.
  • Compromising the integrity of democratic processes.
  • Organisations censoring themselves due to the risks to their people. 
  • Disinformation and intimidation eroding public trust and confidence.

If you are a high-risk individual, you have a responsibility for your safety and security. The steps below provide a framework that will help you to identify the risk and decide how you can protect yourself and your family.

Guidance Be aware of what is happening around you. Assessing the situation and acting swiftly can help reduce or avoid risk.
Guidance Avoid being predictable. Protect yourself and your family online, at home and on the move. Know how to get away from danger.
Guidance If you are in immediate danger, concerned about threatening or abusive behaviour or suspicious activity: know what to do, who to call and what information to provide.

Guidance is also provided for organisations who may have people who are part of the organisation who are identified as high-risk individuals. This guidance considers the steps they can take to protect their people.

Guidance Organisations have an obligation to identify, assess and manage risks to their people, particularly those who are considered high-risk individuals.

Are you a high-risk individual?

Everyone is subject to some risks to their personal safety and security. Indicators of being a high-risk individual include: 

  • Your work or stance on a contentious issue is public.
  • State-backed organisations may try to influence you or show hostility toward you or your organisation.
  • Hostile actors are seeking to dissuade you from continuing your lawful activities.
  • You or your organisation have already received a credible threat or been subject to an attack.
  • You have access to information that is highly attractive to threat actors. 
  • There is intelligence of a threat to you, your associates, or people in a similar role to you.

What could you be subjected to?

You may be subjected to incidents ranging from harassment to serious physical assault. They may be directed at you or your family. For the purpose of this guidance the types of incident have been divided into two categories: 

  1. Online incidents. This could be in the form of online abuse, harassment, intimidation, misinformation, threatening or malicious communications and unlawful access to your information.
  2. In-person incidents. This could involve stalking, surveillance, abuse, harassment, intimidation, assault, kidnap, or damage to property.

What makes you more vulnerable?

A wide range of factors may increase your vulnerability. These may include:

  • You need to be accessible to the public.
  • You have not fully considered your personal safety and security.
  • Your home address and/or work address are widely known or easily discoverable.
  • Your movements are predictable (for example you always catch the same train or you always go to the gym on the same day and time).
  • Your home and/or place of work have little or no protective security.
  • Changes in geopolitics/news relevant to your line of work.

Additional guidance

Additional supporting guidance is highlighted in the following pages and available from:

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Protective security for those involved in the elections.

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A suite of advice options when implementing a personal security plan.

This information is not intended for use in response to other threats, such as domestic violence. Information in relation to protecting yourself from domestic violence can be obtained from:

If there is an immediate threat to you or others, call 999 and ask for the police.

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