The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the UK’s threat level in relation to the prospect of international terrorism impacting home shores, with Home Secretary Theresa May announcing today that the threat level has moved from substantial to severe.
A ‘Severe’ rating means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, although at the present moment there’s no intelligence available to suggest that any form of attack is imminent.
The official threat level informs security professionals across the public and private sectors as they make decisions about the appropriate level of protection in place across the UK.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre’s judgements are made on the basis of the latest intelligence and represent decisions taken independently of Government ministers.
There are five levels of threat, as follows:
*Critical: an attack is expected imminently
*Severe: an attack is highly likely
*Substantial: an attack is a strong possibility
*Moderate: an attack is possible but not likely
*Low: an attack is unlikely
Developments in Syria and Iraq
Announcing the change, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West. Some of these plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts.”
May continued: “The first and most important duty of Government is the protection of the British people. We have already taken steps to amend our powers and increase our capabilities for dealing with the developing terrorist threats which we face. That process will continue, and the British public should be in no doubt that we will take the strongest possible action to protect our national security.”
In conclusion, the Home Secretary stated: “We face a real and serious threat in the UK from international terrorism. I would urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police service.”
Watch a video of Theresa May’s announcement on BBC News
Statement issued by ACPO
ACPO’s National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said: “The threat level from international terrorism has changed from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’ in response to the developments in Syria and Iraq. This means it’s highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK. We therefore continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police service. We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or escalating towards terrorism. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.”
Rowley continued: “Public safety is our priority, and we have a variety of established operational tactics that are regularly used to ensure that the UK is both well prepared and protected. Over the years, we have built capabilities and enhanced our security arrangements against a consistently high level of threat. Much of this is already in place. Our aim is to reduce the risk to the public, and we keep our security arrangements under constant review in line with the threat we face.”
In addition, Rowley commented: “We have activated the established planning mechanisms across the police service, co-ordinated by myself as National Policing Lead on Counter-Terrorism. This will lead to enhanced prevention and preparedness.”
To conclude, Rowley went on to state: “From this afternoon, we will begin to increase our levels of visible patrols and implement other security and protection measures. We will also build on existing community relations to provide reassurance and seek communities’ support and assistance in keeping the UK safe.”
Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the media
Watch a Daily Telegraph video of Prime Minister David Cameron offering his views at a 10 Downing Street Press Conference