If, like me, you were slightly bemused when it was announced that the terrorist threat level has been reduced; here is an explanation from Forces.net
The UK’s terrorism threat level has been reduced from “severe” to “substantial” due to a significant reduction in the number of attacks in Europe. Home Secretary Priti Patel warned that the lowered threat level still means an attack on the UK is “likely” and the public should remain vigilant. The threat level was raised to severe by the MI5-based, Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) in November following attacks in Austria and France.
There are five levels of threat:
- Low: meaning an attack is highly unlikely;
- Moderate: meaning an attack is possible, but not likely;
- Substantial: meaning an attack is likely;
- Severe: meaning an attack is highly likely;
- Critical: meaning an attack is highly likely in the near future.
If the terrorism threat level is raised to ‘critical’ in the UK, then Operation Temperer could be triggered.
What is Operation Temperer?
Operation Temperer is an established security plan by the Government aimed at protecting civilians at times of high terror threat. As part of the operation, up to 3,800 military personnel can be deployed to UK streets to replace armed police at key sites, including railway stations and the Houses of Parliament.
By taking over armed police duties in the streets, military forces could help free up armed police who could then be used to fulfil other duties. Operation Temperer was first put into effect in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombings in May 2017, when personnel were often seen working alongside the police.
Following the Parsons Green bombing, later that year, the operation was enacted a second time. However, even if the terrorism threat level were to be raised to the next and highest level, Operation Temperer would not automatically be put into action. The operation can only happen following a COBRA meeting and when the threat level is ‘critical’.