The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical, meaning a terrorist attack is considered imminent. Prime Minister Theresa May made the sombre announcement in a live television statement from Downing Street.
The move comes because authorities have been unable to say for certain that the perpetrator of the Manchester Arena attack, in which 22 people were killed and 59 others injured, was working alone. “It is a possibility that we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,” Mrs May said.
Raising the level to critical means that military personnel could be deployed to support armed police officers – part of a plan known as Operation Temperer. “The change in the threat level means there will be additional support available to the police as they work to keep us safe,” she said. “Operation Temperer is now in force.”
The UK’s international terrorism threat level is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), based in MI5 headquarters in London.