Anti-terror police chief hopes Bodyguard inspires a flood of new recruits

Nick Charity

Counter-terror police hope the Bodyguard drama inspires a new generation of officers as thousands flock to recruitment web pages as the series draws to a close.

But officials have also warned aspiring recruits that the on-screen action is somewhat divorced from reality.

Thousands of eager recruits have "flocked" to the Counter Terror Police recruitment page, a police source said, as a result of the political thriller series starring Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden.

The thriller sees a personal protection officer assigned to guard a power-hungry home secretary, and he becomes to close to his "principle".

Counter Terror Police's recruitment site advertises roles such as digital specialists, intelligence indexers, analysts and administrative support, with salaries ranging from £19,719 to £43,000.

Senior figures hope younger, more tech-savvy recruits can be persuaded to join the fight against real-life terror plots, and the force has sought to capitalise by posting on social media during episodes.

The UK's most senior female counter-terror officer, deputy assistant commissioner Lucy D'Orsi, said: "We have seen thousands of people visiting our recruitment page as a result of Bodyguard and although the drama stretches reality to the limit, the programme does capture the passion and drive of our officers and staff as they work to keep the public safe.

Seduction: Keeley Hawes' character, home secretary Julia Montague, disappeared after a bombing in the show. But there are rumours, even stirred by the show's creator, that she may be making a return. (BBC)

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Ray, who protected Theresa May when she was home secretary, said large teams are involved in guarding key figures - unlike the lone figure cut by the troubled Personal Protection Officer in Bodyguard, David Budd.

He said: "My day-to-day life bears no resemblance to the programme.

"It's fair to say you wouldn't last long in our team if you cross the line to form too close a relationship with the principal you were protecting."

Ms D'Orsi added she was disappointed by the hostile tensions between the police and MI5 in the series, saying in real life the security services work "hand-in-glove" with police, such as during the Manchester Arena atrocity.

The BBC1 thriller has been hailed as the biggest new drama on British television in more than a decade, created by Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio.

Mr Mercurio has had kept fans reeling on social media after spreading conflicting suggestion about what may happen in the series finale tonight.

Interested people from all backgrounds are encouraged to visit the counter-terror policing recruitment page at counterterrorism.police.uk/careers