over 2 years ago by Meg Fenner - Jamieson

Hit BBC show 'Bodyguard' boosts Counter-Terrorism Recruitment

Bodyguard boost blog

But don't be fooled by what you see on TV. Despite the BBC show’s huge success, specialists warn the job isn’t exactly as you see on TV. 

With the show off the air, and viewers missing the weekly-dose of action, many have been inspired to switch careers and look to a life of Counter-Terrorism Policing.

It’s not only the public searching for the roles, but the show’s massive popularity is also spurring a recruitment drive from Counter-Terrorism police themselves, as they encourage a national drive for new recruits.

The recruitment drive on Twitter aims to inspire viewers moved by Police Sergeant David Budd to apply for roles in anti-terrorism units. Police are hoping the popular drama has inspired a new generation of recruits, a “younger more tech-savvy audience” – and they may be in luck.

"We have seen thousands of people visiting our recruitment page as a result of Bodyguard,” said Deputy Assistant Commissioner and Specialist Operations, Lucy D’Orsi, the UK's most senior female Counter-Terror Officer.

But despite Bodyguards huge success (with over 10 million people tuning in to the show one Sunday evening), the role isn’t as straight-forward or glamorous as the BBC may make it seem.

 “While David Budd is an interesting character, I don’t recognise anyone like him in any of my teams.” Lucy says, “But the programme does capture the passion of our officers to protect the public and the importance of what we do to keep people safe.”

Dean Haydon, the Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter-Terrorism Policing added “Of course, we need more detectives and more armed officers, similar to those featured in the programme. But just as important are those with the technical knowledge and skills to exploit terrorists’ digital devices for crucial evidence gathering.”

Perhaps most similar to the character depicted by David Budd is DCI Steve Ray, Personal Protection Officer, Met Police Royalty and Specialist Protection Command, “I have been a Personal Protection Officer for the Royal Family and Cabinet Ministers, including the Home Secretary. It is, without doubt, the most rewarding job I’ve ever had but my day-to-day life is not like David Budd’s on TV. I am just one member of a dedicated, professional team delivering complete protection to our principles.”

Although the role presented by the David Budd character in Bodyguard is a crucially important job, and the work done by counter-terrorism police is highly important, there are clearly holes in the authenticity presented on the BBC show. 

With that being said, Counter-Terrorism Police using a programme with one of the biggest non-World Cup audiences of 2018, (with the season finale hitting a rating of 10.4m) to promote a national recruitment drive is smart marketing, even if what it’s representing isn’t entirely accurate. 

social media to actively peak a public interest by tweeting during the shows airing time and engaging in the shows #Bodyguard hashtag has proven to increase leads to their recruitment page, and whether or not they have to shift the candidates’ viewpoint to be more accurate once they’ve got them through the door, at least they’ve got them through the door.