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Counterterrorism

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 26 January 2010

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Alan Johnson) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On Friday, 22 January, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) changed the UK threat level from international terrorism from substantial to severe. This means that a terrorist attack is a highly likely.

The change in the threat level to severe does not mean that a terrorist attack is imminent. It reinforces the message that the terrorist threat to the United Kingdom is real, serious and can change. Our first duty is always to protect the public and we view the appropriate threat level is a keystone for doing so.

The decision to change the threat level is taken by JTAC independently of Ministers and is based on the very latest intelligence, considering factors such as capability, intent and timescale. Severe means that an attack is highly likely and may occur without warning.

While there may be changes to security and policing arrangements, these will not necessarily be immediately visible to the public.