20/07/2009

Terror Threat Reduced

The potential threat from a terrorist attack in the UK has been downgraded by one level.

However, the Home Secretary, whose department sets the risk level, said the public can expect little change in security measures.

Today the Home Office reduced the threat situation from "severe" to "substantial", meaning there is a "strong possibility" of an attack, rather than it being "highly likely".

Top government minister Alan Johnson, who oversees the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), said a "real and serious threat" from extremists remained.

JTAC operates within MI5 and is accountable to the Home Office, advising on the capabilities of terrorist groups.
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According to JTAC, al-Qaeda poses the greatest risk, however there is still a threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorists factions.

The latest downgrading has made the level the lowest it has been since its inception three years ago.

However, just two months before the July 7 bombings in London the threat stood at "substantial".

Mr Johnson said: "We still face a real and serious threat from terrorists and the public will notice little difference in the security measures that are in place, and I urge the public to remain vigilant.

"The police and security services are continuing in their thorough efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity."

There are five levels of terror threat, ranging from low - meaning an attack is unlikely - to critical - when an attack is expected imminently.

Substantial is the middle level, below severe and above moderate.

(PR/KMcA)

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