UK lowers terror threat from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial'

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The UK government on Monday announced a lowering of its terror threat level from “severe” to “substantial” for the first time in five years.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the scale-down, which means a terrorist attack is now likely as opposed to highly likely, after independent analysis by the UK’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre after its biannual review.

She, however, urged the British public to remain vigilant as the threat from terrorism still remains.

"Despite the change in the threat level, terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our National Security,” said Patel.

"'Substantial' continues to indicate a high level of threat, and an attack might well occur without further warning. As ever, the public should remain vigilant and report any concerns they may have to the police,” she said.

The UK’s terrorism threat is now at its lowest since August 2014, with substantial the third of five ratings at which the threat levels can stand.

"Government, police and intelligence agencies will continue to work tirelessly to address the threat posed by terrorism in all its forms. The threat level is kept under constant review,” Patel added.

Scotland Yard’s Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, echoed the view that the reduction of the threat level 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 [Counter-Terrorism] 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,” said Basu.

"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,” he said, adding that the public should continue to remain vigilant.

In July this year, the threat level system for the UK was reviewed to reflect all forms of terrorism, including threats from the right and left-wing terrorism.

The UK has been on a “severe” threat level since 2014, rising briefly to the highest level of “critical”, meaning an attack is imminent, on two occasions in May and September 2017.

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