The violent deaths of two female characters in the BBC’s Spooks drama series is putting young women off joining MI5, according to security sources.
To try to encourage more women to join MI5, the Security Service has taken out advertisements in She and Cosmopolitan magazines, reports the Times.
Normally, about half of MI5’s recruits are female, and many of them have been drafted into surveillance work, monitoring suspected terrorists.
But the latest figures, coinciding with the fourth series of Spooks, show that only 27% of current applicants are women.
In the last episode of the current series a female character was shot dead and in the first series a female trainee suffered a horrifying death.
A security source told the Times: “We want to attract more females but the Spooks programme may be having a bad effect because of the way some of the female characters have been killed off.”
The concern about the shortage of female applicants has coincided with MI5’s drive to expand its staff from 2,000 to 3,000, following an injection of extra cash from the Treasury.