“The men and women of MI5 are ordinary people, who do extraordinary things. They have a very strong ethos of public service, but yet their work often goes unnoticed in the public domain. They are intensely committed to keeping the country safe, and they are tirelessly professional and ethical in the way they conduct their work.”
Our People and Organisation
MI5 currently employs over 5,000 people. Over 43% of staff are women, just over half are under 40 years old, over 9% are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds and 4% have a disability. At any time, several hundred staff work in MI5 on secondment or attachment from other government departments and agencies. Staff roles cover a number of areas including investigations, languages, technology, surveillance, communications, information, protective security, administration, building services and catering.
MI5 is headed by the Director General, currently Ken McCallum. The role of the Director General was set out in the Security Service Act 1989. He is personally responsible for:
- the operations and efficiency of MI5;
- making an annual report on our work to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister;
- ensuring that we are politically impartial; and
- ensuring that we obtain and disclose information only in accordance with our statutory responsibilities.
MI5 has a unique need to embrace diversity
An in-depth knowledge and understanding of a variety of communities is crucial for our work. So it’s important our staff come from a breadth of backgrounds and cultures to reflect the people we work hard to protect.
OF OUR STAFF ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 40
Why MI5 was founded; the fight against German espionage; how MI5 caught German spy Carl Hans Lody.
The years immediately after the First World War saw MI5's size being reduced drastically as a result of post-war cost-cutting.
During World War II, the Security Service played a key role in combating enemy espionage, intercepting German communications and feeding misinformation back to Germany.
The Second World War ended with Europe divided between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.
As the Cold War came to an end, terrorist threats from Northern Ireland and states such as Colonel Qadhafi's Libya became priorities for MI5.