UK terrorism threat level raised to severe meaning attack ‘highly likely’

The UK terrorism threat level has been raised to severe, meaning an attack is “highly likely”.

The terror threat level has been raised to severe
The terror threat level has been raised to severe

The news to move the threat level from “substantial” to “severe” comes after the attacks in both France and Austria.

Monday night's shooting in Vienna left four people dead and, last week, three people died in a knife attack in Nice after a teacher was murdered in Paris last month.

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The security move means security chiefs believe that an attack is highly likely but there is no specific intelligence of an imminent incident.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said this is a ‘precautionary measure’ and ‘is not based on any specific threat.’

Ms Patel said: “This is a precautionary measure following the terrible incidents that we’ve seen in France last week and the events we saw in Austria last night.

"The first and most important duty of the government is obviously to protect the British people and we are doing that and continue to do that through the measures and tools that we’ve put in place in terms of dealing with terrorism and terrorist activity.

"At this particular stage though if the public have any concerns I would ask them to report anything of concern they may have to the police but as I’ve said this is a precautionary measure in light of recent events we’ve seen.”

In light of added measures, Ms Patel said that the public will see ‘more visible policing’ across the country but ‘they should not be alarmed’.

In a statement on Twitter concerning the raised threat level, the Home Office said: “People should be alert but not alarmed & report concerns to the police.”

Assessment to change threat levels are taken by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) a unit of MI5, which makes its recommendations independently from the government.

The five levels of threat of a terrorist attack set by the JTAC are low (attack highly unlikely), moderate (possible but not likely), substantial (likely), severe (highly likely) and critical (highly likely in the near future).

The UK's terrorism threat level was raised to "critical", following the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 and last reached that level again for a short period in September that year, after a bomb exploded on a London Tube at Parsons Green.

The threat level remained at "severe" until last November when it was downgraded to "substantial”.

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