Danger in numbers

Published: Tuesday 15 June 1993

-- SURROUNDING a potential target by an army of bodyguards may actually increase the risk of assassination, according to researchers at Middlesex University, London (New Scientist, April 3, 1993).

Too many guards increase the risk as it is probable the bodyguards may accidentally harm the person they are meant to protect. Indira Gandhi's assassination proved it is not easy to screen bodyguards for loyalty. On the other hand, the guards may be unable to deal with the threat if they are too few. Besides, the optimum depends on the prevailing situation and may be as low as two or three in some cases.

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