When it comes to VVIPs going out in public, it is commonly noticed that they never step out without their security personnel. In India, people of high stature are given different levels of security. The security provided to them also depends on the level of threat to an individual and his position.
Security is provided to VVIPs/VIPs/politicians/high-profile celebrities and sportspersons by dedicated agencies, namely the SPG (Special Protection Group), NSG (National Security Guards), and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force).
The SPG was formed a few years after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. It provides security to the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families. For former Prime Ministers and their families, SPG cover cannot be extended beyond a year of leaving office unless an assessment on their threat perception warrants it.
Security categories are divided into 4 tiers: Z+, Z, Y and X.
Z+ category has a security cover of 36 personnel (Including 10+ Commandos) + (Police Personnel). Z+ security is given by the National Security Guard commandos. They are armed with sophisticated MP5 Sub-machine guns and modern communication gadgets, and each member of the team is adept in martial arts and unarmed combat skills. Currently 17 VIPs are provided with Z+ level protection.
Security cover of 11 personnel (including 1 or 2 commandos) + (Police personnel). The security is provided by two personal security officers (PSOs).
Security cover of 2 or 5 personnel (Only armed police personnel). The security is provided by a PSO (personal security officer).
Who gets security cover, and who decides?
The President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Supreme Court and High Court judges, Governors of states, Chief Ministers and cabinet ministers automatically get security cover, so do the service chiefs of the Indian Armed Forces.
VVIP security is decided by a committee consisting of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, the Home Secretary and the Home Minister. There have also been instances where security was provided on recommendations of the state government.