How is terrorism assessed?

The government employs a five-grade alert system regarding any possible terrorism attacks:

  • 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

A terrorist attack could occur anywhere using a variety of means. The terrorist strategy is to generate fear and prevent or disrupt us from going about our ordinary lives and business. In reality, attacks are rare, but well reported in the media.

Who sets the threat levels?

The UK security service MI5 assess the UK threat level to give a broad indication of the likelihood of an attack. The level for international terrorism is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre. Threat levels don't have an expiry date. They can change at any time as different information becomes available to security agents.

The government has produced a national Counter-terrorism Strategy known as CONTEST. There are four major intervention strands to this strategy:

  • Prepare - being ready to deal with the consequences
  • Protect - reducing our vulnerability
  • Prevent - tackling radicalism
  • Pursue - disrupt terrorists and their operations

You can check the current threat level on the MI5 website.

Shropshire Council supports this strategy and is undertaking a number of specific community and partnership projects that meet the strategy's objectives.

How can you report terrorism?

Terrorism is a crime. If you suspect it, report it - don't rely on others. If it's an emergency and you suspect an immediate danger, call 999.

You can also report it confidentially using the Action Counters Terrorism online tool or call the confidential anti-terrorism hotline on 0800 789321. This service is monitored 24 hours a day.

Let the police decide whether the information is important. What might seem insignificant on its own may actually provide a vital link to a wider investigation.

What if I'm overseas?

You're responsible for your own personal safety when travelling, and should read and follow the advice provided by the British government and local authorities. If an incident does occur abroad, follow the advice or directives of local authorities in the first instance.

Advice for British nationals involved in crises abroad is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Run, Hide, Tell

In the UK the police and partners work very hard to keep us safe from the threat of gun crime. Firearms and weapons attacks are thankfully extremely rare, but we must always know what to do to stay safe.

Key advice during an attack:

  • Run to a place of safety. This is better than trying to surrender or negotiate
  • Hide - it's better to hide than to confront. Barricade yourself in, turn your phone to silent and use it only when safe to do so
  • Tell the police by calling 999

(Make sure you know the local emergency numbers when travelling overseas. For all EU countries it is 112).