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Priti Patel confirms UK national terrorism threat reduced from severe to substantial – meaning attack ‘likely’

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The UK’s national terrorism threat level has been reduced from severe to substantial, Priti Patel has said.

It means the chance of an attack occurring is now “likely” rather than “highly likely”.

Announcing the move in a written ministerial statement, the home secretary said: “The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has reduced the UK national terrorism threat level from severe to substantial. This means that a terrorist attack in the UK is likely.

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“JTAC previously raised the UK national threat level from substantial to severe following two terrorist attacks in the UK in quick succession, in October and November 2021.

“When the threat level is at severe it means an attack is highly likely.

“JTAC judges that, despite these two attacks, the current nature and scale of the UK terrorist threat is consistent with the level of threat seen prior to the attacks.”

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Priti Patel said people should not be ‘complacent’ despite the threat level being lowered

Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack.

There are five different threat levels, with the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) responsible for deciding at which level the UK should sit.

The five terror threat levels are:

Low – an attack is highly unlikely

Moderate – an attack is possible, but not likely

Substantial – an attack is likely – – this is the UK’s current level

Severe – an attack is highly likely

Critical – an attack is highly likely in the near future

In November, the UK’s threat level was raised from “substantial” to “severe”, with an attack judged to be highly likely.

It followed an explosion outside a hospital in Liverpool which police declared a terror incident.

At the time, Ms Patel said the decision was made due to two incidents occurring in the last month.

A few weeks prior to the attack in which an improvised device exploded in a taxi in front of the reception of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death at his constituency surgery in Essex in another terrorist incident.

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Despite the downgrading of the UK’s national terror threat level, Ms Patel warned people not to be “complacent”.

Read more: How the UK’s terror threat levels work

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

“The decision to change the UK terrorism threat level is taken by JTAC independently of ministers.

“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.”

JTAC is comprised of representatives from 16 government departments and agencies and brings together counter-terror experts from the police, government and security agencies.

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