Terrorism threat downgraded to 'substantial'

The Home Office has announced that the UK threat level from terrorism has been reduced to Substantial - meaning an attack is likely.

The UK was last at Substantial level in August 2014. Since then it has been at Severe, rising briefly to Critical on two occasions in May and September 2017 following terrorist attacks on UK soil, notably  after the Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May 2017.

The decision to lower the assessment from Severe – meaning an attack is highly likely - was made by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, an independent body of experts who evaluate available intelligence alongside terrorist capability and intentions.

In July this year the threat level system was changed to reflect all forms of terrorism, including from right and left wing terrorism.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, who leads on Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “The reduction to ‘Substantial’ indicates positive developments in reducing the threat from terrorism but still means an attack is likely. Counter Terrorism Policing has around 800 live CT investigations nationally and 24 attack plots have been thwarted since the atrocity in Westminster in March 2017. So it is vital that we all maintain a high level of vigilance and continue to invest in strong protective security measures to deter future attacks.

“Police need the continued support of the public and all our partners. The festive period is fast approaching and, coupled with an election, our towns and cities will be extremely busy. So we appeal to everyone to please remain vigilant and if you see something that doesn’t seem right, act and contact police at In an emergency always call 999. Officers will continue to monitor the threat locally and respond appropriately. There will not be any change to our levels of commitment when it comes to protecting our communities.”

Substantial is the third of five ratings at which the threat level can stand. The separate terrorism threat level for Northern Ireland remains Severe.


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