Bond? Bah!

Are there really 00 agents with licences to kill?
In reality, if the situation calls for it, you shoot to kill. And I mean kill, not just wound. If your life is in danger, you shoot at the biggest part of the body – the chest, with two shots, because that does the most damage.

Have you ever seduced a sexpot in your line of work?
[Laughs] I wish the women looked like that! Obviously there are times when someone deep undercover would ingratiate themselves completely into the life of a criminal organisation – and that includes breaking the law. And those agents have to work alone. They only have contact with a “handler”, who knows them so they can’t break cover and talk to anyone they know – be it friends, family or colleagues. The situation is much more like the TV show Spooks – it’s a big team working on the case, not just a lone agent. And a lot more paperwork!

Do real agents have any of those wonderful gadgets?
No, not the laser watch or anything like that. We usually just have surveillance vans with parabolic microphone receivers in place of the radiator – they can record conversations from more than 100 yards away. The downside being that they’re so sensitive, you just have to pray that no one goes past on a motorbike. I also remember seeing someone pose as a street sweeper with hidden microphones in the cart to record a big villain meeting with his men.

What about action? Found yourself skiing down the Alps?
Unlike Bond, no one does everything that well! We have specialists – motorcyclists and so forth – including selecting the best skier if the job’s in Switzerland. But I can remember commandeering a speedboat. Not for a huge chase, but to cross a river to get to a villain who lived on a houseboat. We told the speedboat’s owner he couldn’t come with us because it would be dangerous. I think he had a rather large insurance claim against the government when he got it back – mostly thanks to bullet holes.

And you’ve never dealt with a bad guy living in a volcano?
Er... No. The IRA tried to create a few craters, though.