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Watch: a rare look inside GCHQ

For only the second time in history, broadcast cameras have been allowed inside GCHQ.

Take a little look around:

The unusual access comes as the Chancellor announced that a new National Cyber Centre will be created at GCHQ in Cheltenham.

It puts the West at the forefront of the British effort to combat online terrorism.

Rainbow colours at GCHQ

Rainbow coloured GCHQ to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia Credit: GCHQ

GCHQ in Cheltenham is illuminating its iconic building with the colours of the rainbow.

The event is to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Up until the 1990s, being openly gay was a bar to employment at the intelligence agency. GCHQ says it wants to make a bold statement to the nation to show that discrimination is no longer acceptable.

The rainbow flag has been associated with the LGBT Rights movement since the 1970s.

At Bletchley Park, Alan Turing’s efforts helped keep Britain safe in war time but he had to keep his sexuality a secret.

"I am delighted to see GCHQ celebrating its commitment to diversity by lighting its building in the rainbow colours. My uncle, Alan Turing, made a crucial contribution to the safety of the nation when he worked for GCHQ’s forerunner Bletchley Park during the Second World War but due to society’s attitude at that time he was forced to hide his sexuality. It is important that his successors at GCHQ today are free to be themselves and therefore bring their full potential and talents to such vital work."

– Sir John Dermot Turing, nephew of Alan Turing

"World-leading innovation in technology absolutely requires diversity. That was true for GCHQ when Alan Turing tackled Enigma for us and it is just as true today. I’m proud of our diverse and creative workforce."

– Robert Hannigan, Director GCHQ

Armed police to patrol GCHQ full time

Armed police to patrol GCHQ full time Credit: PA

Armed police will have a permanent presence outside GCHQ in Cheltenham, after the threat to terrorism in the UK increased last year to severe.

The Government's spy centre has confirmed the move but say it is not in response to any specific threat.

They're expected to send leaflets to local residents explaining the decision.

The security posture of our sites, including the safety of our staff, is under constant review. Our enhanced security arrangements are not in response to any specific threat but related to the raising of the UK threat level from international terrorism from substantial to severe last year.

– Spokesperson, GCHQ
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