“Today, 20 July, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) changed the UK threat level from international terrorism from severe to substantial. This means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility.” Said the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, when announcing the reduction of the threat level to the lowest, since the inception of the threat level system, on 1 August 2006.
“The change in the threat level to substantial does not mean the overall threat has gone away – there remains a real and serious threat against the United Kingdom and I would ask that the public remain vigilant. The decision to change the threat Level is taken by JTAC independently of Ministers and is based on the very latest intelligence, considering factors such as capability, intent and timescale. Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat; and that an attack might well occur without further warning. The threat level is kept under constant review.” Johnson concluded.
JTAC assesses the threat from international terrorism by considering all relevant intelligence and information. Its decision is based on a broad range of factors, including the currently assessed intent and capabilities of international terrorist groups.
There are five threat levels which inform decisions about the levels of security needed to protect our Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
- Low – an attack is unlikely
- Moderate – an attack is possible, but not likely
- Substantial – an attack is a strong possibility
- Severe – an attack is highly likely
- Critical – an attack is expected imminently
The history of threat levels since inception on 1 August 2006 is as follows:
1 August 2006 – Threat level: SEVERE
10 August 2006 – Threat level raised to CRITICAL
14 August 2006 – Threat level lowered to SEVERE
30 June 2007 – Threat level raised to CRITICAL
4 July 2007 – Threat level lowered to SEVERE
20 July 2009 – Threat level lowered to SUBSTANTIAL