MI6 'to hire 1,000 more spies by 2020'

The MI6 Vauxhall Cross building Credit: Reuters/Hannah McKay

Britain's spy agency is reportedly to get almost 1,000 new staff as MI6 chief warns the "enduring" threat from international terrorism will continue for decades to come.

Speaking during a rare public appearance in the US, MI6 head Alex Younger said he would like to be optimistic but "we have got quite long experience of this phenomena now.

"I see it very much as the flip side to some very deep-seated global trends, not least of all globalisation, the reduction of barriers between us," Mr Younger said.

He also said new technology and the "capacity for ideas to travel" are drivers of terrorism.

"Allied with the emergence of state failure this means that, regrettably, this is an enduring issue which will certainly be with us, I believe, for our professional lifetime."

Meanwhile, almost 1,000 of the 1,900 new staff being hired by the UK's security and intelligence agencies within the next five years will go to British spy agency MI6 , according to the BBC.

The agency - which operates overseas with the aim of protecting Britain and its interests - currently has about 2,500 staff, the broadcaster reports.