Case study: Counter-terror comms chiefs reveal the real Bodyguard as recruitment enquiries peak

For the avoidance of any doubt, a grey-haired man with middle-aged spread says: "My day-to-day life is not like David Budd's on TV."

DCI Steve Ray, a personal protection officer at the Metropolitan Police
DCI Steve Ray, a personal protection officer at the Metropolitan Police

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Ray, a Metropolitan Police personal protection officer who guarded Theresa May while she was Home Secretary, is referring to the lead character in the hit BBC series Bodyguard.

DCI Ray is the unlikely star of a short film being promoted by Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP), which is using the success of the series as a platform to find new recruits.

Tweeted to coincide with the climax of Bodyguard last Sunday, the film also features Detective Inspector Inderjit Kaur, from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, and Lucy D’Orsi, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations.

It was part of a snap social-media campaign tagged to the show, which has resulted in more than 10,000 clicks through to the CTP careers web page. In contrast, the page had just 766 visits between 1 March and 1 September.

Tweets by the comms team at CTP have ranged from promoting careers to explaining what acronyms used in the show mean, and highlighting the work of counter-terrorism police.

They have resulted in more than 4,000 engagements, as well as spin-off national media coverage of the tactic used to promote the police.

More than 10 million people watched the final episode of Bodyguard, which is centred on a police protection officer who guards the Home Secretary and becomes embroiled in a deadly conspiracy.

Comms chiefs at the the Metropolitan Police took the unusual step of allowing the BBC to film DCI Ray, for a feature that also ran on Sunday.

A spokesman for CTP said: "When we saw the huge popularity of the show we decided to harness the interest it had generated in who we are and what we do. We therefore took the opportunity to show the public what it is really like to work alongside our partners in the Security Services to protect our communities from the unprecedented terror threat."

They added: "We trust people to understand that the action you see on screen is not reflective of the day-to-day lives of our officers and staff, but hope that it has inspired people to seriously consider the varied and rewarding careers CTP can offer."

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