Priti Patel announces UK terror threat level has lowered from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’

The UK terror threat level has been lowered from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’ after a ‘significant reduction’ in the momentum of attacks in Europe.

Home Secretary Priti Patel warned an attack was still ‘likely’ and said members of the public should remain vigilant, despite the downgrade.

The threat level was raised to severe – meaning an attack was ‘highly likely’ by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) in November following Islamist attacks in Austria and France.

Seven people were killed in a spate of attacks across Vienna, Paris and Nice towards the end of last year. 

But on Thursday last week the expert analysts reduced the level, Ms Patel told MPs on Monday.

Priti Patel told MPs the public should remain vigilant against an attack, saying it was still 'likely'

Priti Patel told MPs the public should remain vigilant against an attack, saying it was still 'likely'

Priti Patel told MPs the public should remain vigilant against an attack, saying it was still ‘likely’

‘The decision to lower the threat level from severe to substantial is due to the significant reduction in the momentum of attacks in Europe since those seen between September and November 2020,’ the Home Secretary said.

‘However, the UK national threat level is kept under constant review and is subject to change at any time.

‘Terrorism remains one of the most direct and immediate risks to our national security.

The threat has been lowered after a 'significant reduction in the momentum of attacks in Europe,' Ms Patel said. Pictured: Police responding to a terror attack in Vienna, Austria last November

The threat has been lowered after a 'significant reduction in the momentum of attacks in Europe,' Ms Patel said. Pictured: Police responding to a terror attack in Vienna, Austria last November

The threat has been lowered after a ‘significant reduction in the momentum of attacks in Europe,’ Ms Patel said. Pictured: Police responding to a terror attack in Vienna, Austria last November

Ms Patel explained: ''Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat; and an attack on the UK is still likely.' Pictured: Police responding after five people were stabbed in November 2019

Ms Patel explained: ''Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat; and an attack on the UK is still likely.' Pictured: Police responding after five people were stabbed in November 2019

Ms Patel explained: ”Substantial continues to indicate a high level of threat; and an attack on the UK is still likely.’ Pictured: Police responding after five people were stabbed in November 2019

‘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.’

Twenty-year-old Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people during a terror attack in Vienna, Austria on November 2. 

Fejzulai began his attack at 8pm near the central synagogue armed with an automatic rifle, pistol and machete. 

The Islamist marauded through the streets wearing a fake explosives belt and injured 22 as he fired at random before he was ‘neutralised’ – shot dead by police at 8.09pm.

Islamic extremist Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people during a terror attack in Vienna, Austria on November 2 before he was shot dead by officers

Islamic extremist Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people during a terror attack in Vienna, Austria on November 2 before he was shot dead by officers

Islamic extremist Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people during a terror attack in Vienna, Austria on November 2 before he was shot dead by officers

Three people were killed by a terrorist in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice at 9am last October

Three people were killed by a terrorist in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice at 9am last October

Three people were killed by a terrorist in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice at 9am last October

Fejzulai killed an elderly man and woman, a young male passer-by and a waitress. 

In a spate of attacks in France, two people were stabbed outside the Charlie Hebdo building in Paris in September.

On October 16 French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in the street after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a class.

Three people were killed outside the Notre Dame basilica in Nice on October 29 

HOW THE UK’S TERROR THREAT LEVELS WORK

The threat level for the UK from international terrorism is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).

Analysts take a variety of factors into consideration before determining the appropriate threat level for the UK.

This could include available intelligence, an examination of known terrorist capabilities and the timescale.

There are five levels of the terror threat system. These 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

The last time the UK was facing a severe terror threat level was from July 2019 to November 2019 at which point it was downgraded to substantial. 

The threat level has only been critical twice since 2010 – once in May 2017 for four days and once in September 2017 for two days.

The critical levels followed the Manchester Arena bombing and the Parsons Green bombing respectively. 

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