A car sweeps to a halt in front of a country hotel. The chauffeur climbs out, speaks to two men waiting for him and disappears inside with one of them. The third man (who happens to be ex-SAS and familiar with incendiary devices) remains outside. When the two re-emerge he asks the chauffeur to check for bombs. The driver looks under the chassis, goes to open the door - a loud blast and they are blown sky high.
Well, not actually. There are no injuries, and the noise is caused by an alarm. This is Universal Driver Training's mobile security course, where the chauffeurs of blue-chip companies are taught the art of self-defence. Over two days, and at a cost of £700, they learn how to spot an enemy, how to defend their passengers and themselves, and how to handle a vehicle if it comes under attack. 'Transport', as Ken Piper, who runs the courses, keeps dinning into his students, 'is always the weak link in the security chain.' Training drivers in anti-terrorist techniques is evidently a cyclical business. 'Generally people come to me when they're scared,' admits Piper, who was 'working flat out during the Gulf war and after the two City bombings'.Yet those who send their drivers for training are not all white with fright.'Some do it simply because others have done it,' says Piper. It's safest to keep up with the Joneses.