UK threat level raised from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’

Friday, 29th August 2014

The UK international terror threat level has been raised to ‘severe’, Home Secretary Theresa May announced today.

The new alert level means an attack is ‘highly likely’. It is the fourth highest of five possible threat levels.

Mrs May said there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was ‘imminent’ but that the level had been raised in response to events in Iraq and Syria.

The threat level in the UK last changed in July 2011 when it was reduced to ‘substantial’.

Source and form of the threat

The threat of international terrorism comes from a diverse range of sources, including Al Qaida and associated networks, and those who share Al Qaida’s ideology but do not have direct contact with them. A threat could manifest itself from a lone individual or group, rather than a larger network. Domestic terrorism related to Northern Ireland, principally from Republican terrorist groups, also remains a threat.

The terrorist threat can take a number of forms, as terrorists may use a variety of methods of attack to achieve their objectives. These may include explosive devices, firearms, missiles, kidnapping, infiltration and electronic attacks. See the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) website for practical advice on how to defend against these threats.

Threat level history

24 October 2012
Threat level from Northern Ireland-related terrorism lowered to MODERATE for GB and remains at SEVERE for Northern Ireland.
Threat from international terrorism remains SUBSTANTIAL (UK-wide)
Security Service news announcement

11 July 2011
Threat level from international terrorism for the UK is lowered to SUBSTANTIAL
Threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism remains SEVERE (NI) and SUBSTANTIAL (GB)

24 September 2010
Threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism published for the first time
Threat levels: SEVERE (NI) and SUBSTANTIAL (GB), raised from MODERATE (GB)

22 January 2010
Threat level raised to SEVERE
Security Service news announcement
20 July 2009
Threat level lowered to SUBSTANTIAL