The new, simplified UK "Threat Level" system with respect to possible terrorist attacks, comes into force today:
- Low - an attack is unlikely
- Moderate - an attack is possible, but not likely
- Substantial - an attack is a strong possibility
- Severe - an attack is highly likely
- Critical - an attack is expected imminently
According to the MI5 Security Service:
The current threat level is assessed as SEVERE.
This means that an attack is "highly likely" and indicates a continuing high level of threat to the UK.
So what exactly are we meant to do as a result of this Threat Level warning ?
It is still unclear exactly what the General Public is meant to do (apart from use the Anti-terrorism hotline 0800 789 321 or 999).
Those people involved in protecting the Critical National Infrastructure are given a little more advice:
|RESPONSE LEVEL||DESCRIPTION||RELATED THREAT LEVELS|
Routine protective security measures appropriate to the business concerned
Low and Moderate
|Heightened||Additional and sustainable protective security measures reflecting the broad nature of the threat combined with specific business and geographical vulnerabilities and judgements on acceptable risk||Substantial and Severe|
|Exceptional||Maximum protective security measures to meet specific threats and to minimise vulnerability and risk||Critical|
However, secrecy rules:
The security measures taken to protect people and Critical National Infrastruture will not be announced publicly, to avoid informing terrorists about what we know and what we are doing about it.
All the media briefings and "leaks" from "sources" indicate that this SEVERE level will not be reduced for the forseeable future, so, in practice there is only a 2 level system of SEVERE and CRITICAL being operated.
How exactly is this meant to provide reassurance to the public, and clarity to the people working to defend the country ?
See also Dr.K's Personal Paranoia Meter