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UK terror threat level drops

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The UK’s terror threat level has dropped from “severe” to “substantial”, the home secretary has said.

In a written statement to parliament, Priti Patel said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) had lowered the UK national terrorism threat level from the fourth-highest to the third-highest level.

There are five terror threat levels in total – ranging from “low” to “critical”.

The home secretary said the lowering was due to “the significant reduction in the momentum of attacks in Europe since those seen between September and November” last year.

However, with the terror threat level now at “substantial”, it still means a terrorist attack in the UK is “likely”.

“Terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security,” Ms Patel said.

“‘Substantial’ continues to indicate a high level of threat; and an attack on the UK is still likely.

“The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any concerns to the police.

“The government, police and intelligence agencies continue to work tirelessly to address the threat posed by terrorism in all its forms and the threat level remains under constant review.”

JTAC is based at MI5’s headquarters in London and is made up of counter-terror experts from the police, government and security agencies.

They had moved the terror threat level up to “severe” from “substantial” in November last year in the wake of an attack on the Austrian capital, Vienna.

At the time, a UK security source told Sky News there was no specific threat to the UK but that recent attacks in Europe had felt “different in tactic and tempo”, with the raised threat level a response to that.

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In November 2019, the terror threat level went below “severe” for the first time in five years.

The highest level, “critical”, was last reached in September 2017, in the wake of the Parsons Green train bombing.

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

Severe – an attack is highly likely

Critical – an attack is highly likely in the near future

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