London skyline at sunrise
UK

UK Terror Threat Level Upgraded To 'Severe'

A 'severe' threat level means an attack is highly likely.

London skyline at sunrise

The terrorism threat level in the United Kingdom has been upgraded from 'substantial' to 'severe'.

By moving to 'severe', it means an attack is highly likely.

It follows Monday's terror attacks in Vienna and recent incidents in France.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the move was a "precautionary measure" and it was "not based on any specific threat".

She urged the public to "continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police".

The Defence Secretary said the rise in the threat level was a "reflection of what we've seen across Europe".

"It's right that we are increasing our awareness and our alert state," Ben Wallace added.

"People should reacquaint themselves with the discipline of things like 'run, tell, hide' if an event happens or an attack happens, or indeed report anything suspicious.

"We've obviously been focused on COVID, but I'm afraid our adversaries are out there trying to do us harm every single day of the week - they'll use any method, and that's why it's important the public remain alert."

The threat level is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre and the Security Service, which is based at MI5.

There are five levels of threat:

  • Low: meaning an attack is highly unlikely;
  • Moderate: meaning an attack is possible, but not likely;
  • Substantial: meaning an attack is likely;
  • Severe: meaning an attack is highly likely;
  • Critical: meaning an attack is highly likely in the near future.

A 'severe' threat level is the second-highest possible level in the UK.

Threat levels do not have an expiry date and can change at any time.

Cover image: PA.