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Mobile Surveillance Officers

Being a Mobile Surveillance Officer (MSO) means every day is different. Surveillance is one of MI5's key investigative resources in protecting against threats to national security from terrorism to espionage. You could be out on foot or in a car, and where you are and what you are doing depends on who you are following and why. It's about blending into the environment naturally to gather information and intelligence that will feed directly into the operation you are working on. As a Mobile Surveillance Officer, you will enjoy huge variety every day and know that you are helping to keep the country safe.


You do not need any experience to do this role as we will teach you everything you need to know. Your suitability and aptitude will be assessed throughout the initial recruitment processes. You will have an initial training period which you will need to pass to become a mobile surveillance officer. During this time you will learn the basic skills required and you will be matched up with an assessor who will support you through the process. When you have passed there are more training opportunities to enhance your skills and you will receive ongoing training to learn new or refresh your existing skills. Once you start the role you will be assigned a one-to-one mentor who will be an experienced officer. They will help you complete your specialist training and will support you for at least six months as you settle into the role.


As a Mobile Surveillance Officer, you will need to be flexible as you will work shift patterns organised on a five-week shift roster, which includes working two weekends in five. You will know these well in advance which means that some people see this as a real benefit to work-life balance. You will be required to work a mixture of early, day, late and night shifts across the five weekly shift rosters.


You will need to enjoy, be competent, confident and be happy to enhance your driving and navigating skills as they are a very big part of the role and you will use these skills every day. Although you will need to be able to navigate between two points and be comfortable driving on all road types, your map reading and driving skills will be developed to an advanced standard and refined as part of your training course.


As Mobile Surveillance Officers work a shift pattern, you will know your work pattern well in advance. Some people find this better enables them to balance personal and family commitments with their professional life. Due to the nature of our work, it means that you can't take it home with you so when you leave the office you really do leave your work behind you.


As a Mobile Surveillance Officer you have a huge support network behind you and our teams research every situation to minimise potential risks. On a day to day basis you will always have immediate support as you work closely with colleagues both on the ground and back in the office. You can be on the move all day, often following people under surveillance on foot so you need a reasonable level of fitness to allow you to do this.

Candidates will be required to undertake and pass a Fitness for Role medical which includes:

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index

Having a body mass index of 30 or less

Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure within NIC guidelines of less than 140/90

Good vision

Good vision

Good vision in both eyes, either naturally or corrected with glasses or contact lenses, including full colour and peripheral vision to DVLA Group 2 sight

Good Hearing

Good Hearing

Good hearing referred to as HSE category 1 without hearing aids is also essential

Any pre-existing medical conditions and medical history will also be assessed.

Mobile Surveillance Officer Case Study

I first considered working for MI5 when I heard an advert for Mobile Surveillance Officers on the radio and there were quite a few things about the role that caught my attention. I've never been one to sit still so the idea of being out and about, driving and on foot, was hugely appealing, as was the opportunity to travel around the country.

Mobile Surveillance Officers always work together in teams, so I always feel safe and in control of all situations. The job is exciting, but I'm never put in to situations that make me feel uncomfortable.

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Why not test your skills to see if you could join MI5 in one of our investigative roles.


This quiz will give you some indication of MI5 values and culture and how well they match with you.

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Mobile Surveillance

We have developed some tasks that reflect the nature of the work of our Mobile Surveillance Officers to enable you to assess your suitability for the role. Take this challenge to check your observation skills and ability to recall detail.

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