Government downgrades terrorist threat level

Author: PA

That means the official assessment of the danger of an attack in the near
future has shifted from “highly likely” to a “strong
possibility”.

Mr Johnson said the country still faces a “real and serious” threat
from terrorists and urged members of the public to remain vigilant.

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, a unit within MI5, sets the level based
on an analysis of intelligence.

The assessment covers potential attacks by al Qaida or linked extremist groups
and the threat from dissident Republican and Loyalist terrorists in Northern
Ireland.

There are five levels of threat, ranging from low – meaning an attack is
unlikely, to critical – when an attack is expected imminently.

Mr Johnson said: “The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has reduced the
threat to the UK from international terrorism from Severe to Substantial.

“This means that an attack on the UK is a strong possibility. JTAC make
their judgments based on a broad range of factors, including the intent and
capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK.

“We still face a real and serious threat from terrorists and the public
will notice little difference in the security measures that are in place,
and I urge the public to remain vigilant.

“The police and security services are continuing in their thorough
efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity.”

The threat level was made public for the first time on August 1, 2006, when it
was set at severe.

It was raised to critical on August 10 that year after a series of arrests
over an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic aircraft, but lowered to
severe again the following week.

The threat level was last at critical in June 2007, following the attack on
Glasgow Airport and the failed car bombings in central London.

Earlier this month, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, John
Yates, hinted at the possibility of a change.

He told the Association of Chief Police Officers’ conference in Manchester: “I
think there is a possibility the threat level may come down.

“It is logical because we cannot keep having it high unless the threat is
there.”

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