UK terror threat level reduced from severe to substantial but attacks still 'likely'

Despite the downgrading of the UK's national terror threat level, the home secretary warned people not to be "complacent". Credit: PA

The UK national terrorism threat level has been reduced from severe to substantial, meaning an attack is "likely" rather than "highly likely", the home secretary has announced.

Priti Patel said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre’s (JTAC) decision, which was taken independently of ministers, was a positive one, but cautioned that people should not fall into complacency.

In November, the terrorism threat level increased to severe in the UK, following the explosion of a taxi outside a Liverpool hospital that killed the suspect in a car explosion.

Priti Patel said the JTAC assessment was based on the latest intelligence available. Credit: PA

Ms Patel said at the time the threat level had been raised because there had been two attacks in the space of a month - the last being the stabbing of MP Sir David Amess, which was treated as a terrorist incident.

“The attacks in October and November 2021 reflect the complex, volatile, and unpredictable nature of the terrorist threat in the UK,” she told MPs in a statement on Wednesday.

“JTAC keep the threat level under constant review based on the very latest intelligence and analysis of internal and external factors which drive the threat. “Any reduction in the threat level is positive but it must never make us complacent. “Terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security. The public should remain alert, but not alarmed, and report any concerns they may have to the police.”

A graphic of the various UK terror threat levels. Credit: PA

JTAC, which is led by MI5, is made up of representatives from 16 government departments and agencies, and brings together counter-terror experts from the police, government and security agencies.

“Severe” is the second-highest of the five threat levels used by Britain’s security apparatus.

It is one below the highest level- “critical”- which means an attack is feared imminently and it has only ever previously been used for a few days at a time.