The terrorism threat level in the UK has been upgraded to ‘severe’ in the wake of the recent terror attack in Vienna and a string of terror-related incidents in France.
The government announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon (3 Nov), with the decision placing the UK back into the second highest level, suggesting an attack is highly likely.
The terror threat level was lowered unexpectedly to substantial last November, having previously been at severe or higher since August 2014.
The terror level was raised to the highest level critical in the days following the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017.
What triggered the upgrade to severe?
The upgrade to severe was likely triggered by Monday’s shooting in Vienna. Five people, including an attacker died. The attack has been linked to an Islamic State sympathsiser.
France has suffered a series of attacks that began last month when a teacher was killed after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils.
Last week, three people were killed in a knife attack at a church in Nice, with the French President Emmanuel Macron saying it was an “Islamist terrorist attack.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted that the decision to upgrade the terror level was “a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat.”
She added, “The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.”
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the UK terror threat level from substantial to severe.This is a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat.The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. pic.twitter.com/XJa0gXetee
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) November 3, 2020
What are the terror threat levels?
The five levels of threat are set by the Join Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).
The levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack.
The five levels are:Low - an attack is highly unlikelyModerate - an attack is possible, but not likelySubstantial - an attack is likelySevere - an attack is highly likelyCritical - an attack is high likely in the near future