Following the Manchester attacks on May 22nd, the UK has raised their threat level status to critical. This is the highest level, above severe and substantial, and it means that another attack is deemed imminent.
This doesn’t mean another attack will happen, but the authorities say the chances of a repeat attack are very high and may happen soon. The status is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC.)
How many times has the UK been at threat level critical?
This is third time since the system was introduced in 2006 that the UK threat level has been deemed critical, and the first time in nearly 10 years. The past two times, both in 2006 and 2007, the critical threat level only lasted for a handful of days, before being downgraded back to severe.
Over the last decade, the most common threat level in the UK has been severe, one level below critical. This is likely to be due to a number of high profile terrorist attacks across Europe.
What happens during a threat level critical?
The introduction of the critical threat level in this case has initiated “Operation Temperer” for the first time. This means UK military are likely to be deployed to help armed police protect key locations that are considered important or at high risk of attack. This allows police to focus on other areas such as more patrols.
As many as 5000 troops could be deployed.
The military being deployed on the streets of the UK is rare. They were deployed in 2003 at Heathrow airport amidst threats that extremists may have had a surface-to-air missile launcher.
Advice for the public?
The advice for the public is largely to be the same as the threat level of severe. Always be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities immediately.
Also, be aware that UK military troops may be visible at certain locations, such as airports and music concerts.