|Threat Levels: The System to Assess the Threat from International Terrorism
Threat levels in the UK
The UK Government's counter terrorism strategy (Adobe PDF file, 645 Kb) aims to reduce the risk from international terrorism, so that people can go about their business freely and with confidence. While the current terrorist threat presents many challenges, public safety is our absolute priority. The Government can never guarantee that attacks will not happen in the future, but its security effort is dedicated to reducing the risk as much as possible.
Assessments of the level and nature of the threat from international terrorism are made by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) while the threat from Irish and other domestic terrorism is assessed by the Security Service (MI5). These include a threat level, which is a shorthand description of the overall threat, either for the UK as a whole or for a number of specific sectors, such as the Government estate or military facilities.
Threat levels in themselves do not require specific responses from the public. They are a tool for security practitioners working across different sectors of what we call the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and the police to use in determining what protective security response may be required. By its very nature, intelligence cannot be revealed completely and there will always be limitations to what we can say about security and the responses we have planned.
Previously, the Government has not made public the way in which this system works or the national threat level that emerges from it. Following a review, we have decided to inform the general public about the process and the national threat level, which applies to the UK as a whole. These pages aim to explain what threat levels are and how they are used. Information about the national threat level will be available on the MI5 and Home Office websites from 1st August 2006.
Dr John Reid
Threat Levels in the United Kingdom
UK Counterrorism Strategy