News story

Changed threat level

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the threat-level from international terrorism from severe to substantial.

The Home Secretary today announced that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the threat-level from international terrorism from severe to substantial. This means there is a strong possibility of a terrorist attack.

The system of threat levels aims to keep you informed about the risk of terrorism at any given time.

Strong possibility of attack

Announcing today’s change, Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘Today the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) changed the UK threat level from international terrorism from severe to substantial. This means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility and might well occur without further warning.

‘The change in the threat level to substantial does not mean the overall threat has gone away - there remains a real and serious threat against the United Kingdom and I would ask the public to remain vigilant.

‘The decision to change the threat level is taken by JTAC independently of ministers and is based on the very latest intelligence, considering factors such as capability, intent and timescale.

‘Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat; and that an attack might well occur without further warning. The threat level is kept under constant review.’

The threat-levels

There are five levels of threat:

  • 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

Who decides the threat levels?

The Security Service (MI5) is responsible for setting the threat level from Irish-related terrorism, both in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain.

Meanwhile, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre is responsible for setting the threat level from international terrorism.

To do this, they consider information gathered through intelligence in the UK and abroad. They also consider how terrorist organisations have behaved in the past.

What should you do?

You should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism; look out for suspicious bags on public transport or any other potential signs of terrorist activity.

But you should not let the fear of terrorism stop you from going about your day-to-day life as normal. Your risk of being caught up in a terrorist attack is very low.

Threat levels abroad

For information on threats abroad, visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website where you’ll find country-specific advice.

Read more about the current threat level.

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