The Security Service’s main responsibility is to protect national security and the economic well-being of the country, and to support the police and other law enforcement agencies in their work against serious crime.
Main areas of work for Security Service personnel include: anti-terrorism (national and international); anti-espionage; serious crime prevention; and counter-proliferation – the disruption of attempts to acquire materials, technology and expertise which could be used to develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programmes.
They also advise on protective security for key national infrastructure such as power, water and transport systems.
There is a wide variety of roles within the service, including:
Surveillance officers observe and report on the movements and actions of those under investigation. Often trained in a specialist role, officers work in teams and liaise with the police or other agencies, and may provide evidence in court. Work can be on a mobile or static basis.
Security service generalists (graduate entrants), who may also be known as desk officers, operate in teams and assess and investigate threats in one of the areas mentioned above. Identifying targets from intelligence data, they decide on the most appropriate method to conduct an investigation. Later in their careers, they may also be involved in policy work, training other staff and a variety of other roles (see the Security Services' websites in Further Information).
Linguists work within the Service’s language unit. They translate and transcribe incoming intelligence information, and interpret its political and cultural context. The information may be classed as secret and take the form of intercepted telephone calls, emails or post.
Developed vetting investigation officers carry out the security vetting of new staff, and also review security clearances of existing employees. They produce written reports from their findings and make recommendations.
IT specialists providing protection and IT support to the government’s computer systems, networks and communication systems. Posts exist within applications management, communications networks, development, integration and testing, quality management, service desk, security, server management and telecommunications engineering.
The Security Service also employs people in a wide range of support roles. These include administrative positions, security guards, building maintenance and services personnel, and other technician roles. For more information on these roles visit the careers website in Further Information.
Many surveillance and some investigative and support roles involve working a shift rota, which can include weekends. Additional hours may also be required during certain operations. This may be followed by periods of inactivity during quieter times.
Most positions are based in London. Some roles can involve travel on a national or international basis. Administrative and generalist jobs typically involve working in an office environment, and are more likely to be daytime hours.
To work for the Security Service you should:
The Security Service employs approximately 2,200 people, with the majority being employed on a full-time basis, based mainly in London. Generalist staff account for around 67 per cent of the workforce.
Opportunities for promotion exist across the Service and are based on performance, ability and potential.
The Security Service has recently embarked on a national recruitment campaign, with plans to have 3,200 employees by 2008. For current vacancies and information on how to apply please visit the Security Service careers website below.
If you would like to know anything about Security Service Personnel that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.