No longer just male and pale

GCHQ’s Nikesh Mehta on how the intelligence services are diversifying

The World Today
2 minute READ

Nikesh Mehta

Deputy director, GCHQ

We live in an increasingly complex world, one marked in recent years by terrorist attacks across Europe inspired by a group hidden in the recesses of the internet and the turmoil of Syria and Iraq. In such hazardous times, the UK intelligence community must ensure we have the right people to keep Britain safe.

Following the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, the government announced that an additional 2,000 intelligence officers would be hired across the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, or SIS, by 2020. This amounts to a 15 per cent rise in agency ranks – the biggest expansion since the 7/7 bombings.

But the number of new recruits joining our ranks is not the only factor that will determine our success in disrupting terrorist attacks or organized crime. Critically it is who those people are that matters – their experiences, backgrounds, perspectives, mindsets and approaches to the work we do.

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