Terror Threat Level now back down a notch to "Severe"


Terror Threat Level now back down a notch to:


Is it time to relax?

The UK terrorism threat level has been reduced from ‘Critical’ to ‘Severe’. The announcement was made last Saturday 27 May, by the Prime Minister. The announcement followed a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra last Saturday morning.

The change indicates an attack is highly likely, although not imminently expected.

The Military personnel deployed last week to support the civilian police will be stood down on Monday 29 May, at the close of the bank holiday weekend.

It is now apparent that the Security Services (including MI5 and other agencies) and the police have made very significant progress in shutting down the operational terror cell in which Salman Abedi and members of his Libyan family were active, hence the threat level being downgraded so promptly. It had been upgraded to ‘Critical’ in the aftermath of the suicide bombing carried out by Abedi at the Manchester Arena.  The threat level had of course, been set at ‘Critical’ in the aftermath of that horrific bombing, which mercilessly, targeted young people and children.

There are some questions to pose:

  • So what now?
  • Does the threat level downgrade mean we can all relax?
  • If we can’t still relax, then what should we all be doing, that we haven’t already been doing?

What now?

Let’s firstly not forget that the Security Services have told us that the threat from Islamic extremists will likely be hanging over us for the next couple of decades. MI5 estimates that there are some 3,000 active terrorist minded operatives out there, in the UK alone.

My concern is that other extremists could ‘jump on the back’ of the Manchester attack, and be ‘inspired’ to conduct their own attacks. ‘Copy-cat’ attacks do occur. It is hard, indeed impossible, for decent minded people of goodwill, to get their heads around the fact that Islamic extremists have defined the carnage of the Manchester bombing as a success!!  Let us also not forget that it was Libyan terrorists who brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988…

So can we relax, perhaps even just a bit…?

The short answer is, no.

One particular terror cell/group (with a Libyan connection) may be no more, but there are others ready to make their move. MI5 and the police, to their enormous credit, have thwarted many other terrorist plots. The officers of those organisations are working tirelessly to protect us all, but the sad reality is that every now and again, a single group of terrorists will slip through the net. There are just not enough Security Service and police personnel to have all suspects under physical surveillance 24×7…

So, what should we all be doing, that we haven’t already been doing?

The need for heightened vigilance should remain in place.

Vigilance is not of course the exclusive domain of security personnel, and readers and customers are reminded to encourage all staff and contractors at their premises to be alert, and vigilant to any suspicious behaviour, or activity.

Please ask yourselves the following questions relating to the security of your own premises:

  • Applying the ‘onion skin’ principle of layered security, and defensive space, can you extend outwards the first checking points for visitors?
  • Is it feasible for you to arrange for visitors, whether pedestrians or in vehicles to be checked initially at outer gates, rather than allow entry to internal Reception areas?
  • Have you assessed whether Hostile Vehicle Mitigation measures are required?
  • Can you deploy security personnel to perimeter areas which enable them to safely look out for vehicles being driven at excessive speed?
  • Are reporting mechanisms fast enough to enable prompt activation of lockdowns in the event of a shooter getting on to your premises, or a speeding vehicle being detected?
  • Who has operational control?
  • Are your personnel trained to understand and identify hostile reconnaissance?
  • What contingency plans exist to address situations where someone or something worrying or suspicious is discovered?
  • Do you have updated evacuation and invacuation contingency plans?
  • Are reporting procedures adequate in terms of escalation of concerns, and police support?

‘Top Tips’:

  • Restrict both pedestrian and vehicular access to authorised persons and vehicles only
  • Maintain a good flow of intelligence and information, including close liaison with  local Police and Counter-Terrorism advisors
  • Have the right calibre of trained people in place, including well trained Security teams
  • Carry out regular tests (including Penetration Tests) and drills of all security and safety systems
  • Implement both internal and external security audits
  • Ensure that Contingency and Emergency plans are in place and are easily accessible for all relevant personnel
  • Always ensure that Security teams are alert to suspicious behaviour and activity in or around your subject premises or environment!

REMEMBER! It is vital that Access Control and anti-tailgating measures are as robust as possible, and that unauthorised persons are not allowed to gain access to your premises!

The current threat level from global terrorism has now been set at: SEVERE meaning that a terrorist attack is still highly likely!


The threat level for Irish related terrorism is set separately for Northern Ireland and Great Britain

In Northern Ireland it is: SEVERE and in Great Britain SUBSTANTIAL


  • CRITICAL means that a terrorist attack is imminent
  • SEVERE means that a terrorist attack is highly likely
  • SUBSTANTIAL that an attack is a strong possibility
  • MODERATE that an attack is possible but unlikely

Everyone should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity to the Police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.


You may end up saving a life or lives… and there is nothing more rewarding than that…

The following telephone numbers may be useful:

Corps Security Central Support: 0141 847 2044

Specific advice on Counter-Terrorism matters:

0207 566 0516

Editor: Mike Bluestone

Associate Editor: Emma Brooksbank