A recent survey by the property consultant Knight Frank revealed that London has the most so-called ‘prime’ homes of any city in the world, with more than 68,000 properties valued at £2 million-plus. Meanwhile, crime figures in the UK continue to rise. There were 299,868 reported burglaries in 2020, with robberies at 68,095 and vehicle crimes at 371,278. There has also been a huge increase in cyber attacks in the past year, with a 300 per cent year-on-year rise in ransomware episodes.
These are figures that inculcate a sense of rising unease among the rich. A recent survey of high-net-worth individuals, by the security company Chubb, showed that on average 28 per cent felt more vulnerable at home, at work and travelling than five years ago. And the single greatest fear was of violent home invasion.
“The world’s becoming a more threatening place,” says Jack Mann, who runs Alma Risk, a company specialising in personal protection. “People want to keep their families safe, and they’re prepared to go to pretty extravagant lengths to do that.” Just how extravagant might that be?
Imagine for a moment that you are that Indian billionaire or Russian oligarch – or perhaps one of the 52 Hong Kong residents newly arrived in Britain, fleeing China’s new state-security laws, who have been granted a so-called golden visa after promising to invest at least £2 million in the UK. You’ve bought your house in Kensington or Hampstead, but your pride and joy is your new estate in the Cotswolds – not far, perhaps, from the £6 million property owned by David and Victoria Beckham, which masked thieves attempted to burgle in 2018. You are often away making more money, leaving your wife or husband at home with the children. What to do?