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International terrorism threat level (MI5):Substantial

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What are Threat Levels?

The threat level to the United Kingdom from terrorism is SUBSTANTIAL.

The threat level for the United Kingdom is set by MI5.

How should security staff respond?

Threat levels in themselves do not require specific action from security staff. They are the tool for counter terrorism practitioners working across different sectors of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and the police use in determining what protective security responses may be required.

Vigilance is vital regardless of the current national threat level. It is especially important given the current national threat level. Sharing national threat levels with the public keeps everyone informed. It explains the context for the various security measures (for example airport security or bag searches) which we may encounter in our daily lives.

How are threat levels decided?

In reaching a judgement on the appropriate threat level in any given circumstance several factors need to be considered. These include:

Available intelligence – It is rare that specific threat information is available and can be relied upon. More often judgements about the threat will be based on a wide range of information, which is often fragmentary, including the level and nature of the terrorist attack activity, comparison with events in other countries, and previous attacks. Intelligence is only ever likely to reveal part of the picture.

Terrorist capability – An examination of what is known about the capabilities of the terrorists in question and the method they may use, based on previous attacks, or from intelligence.

Terrorist intentions – Using intelligence and publicly available information to examine the overall aims of terrorists and the ways they may achieve them including what sort of targets they would consider attacking.

Timescale – The threat level expresses the likelihood of an attack in the near term. We know from past incidents that some attacks take years to plan, while others are put together more quickly. In the absence of specific intelligence, a judgement will need to be made bout how close an attack might be to fruition. Threat levels do not have any set expiry date, but are regularly subject to review to ensure they remain current.  

National Threat Level

DateThreat Level
9 February 2022SUBSTANTIAL
15 November 2021SEVERE
4 February 2021SUBSTANTIAL
3 November 2020SEVERE
4 November 2019SUBSTANTIAL
23 July 2019SEVERE
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