What does the UK terror threat levels really mean, what is COBRA and Operation Temperer?

This is what you need to know!

The UK threat levels are in place to help provide us with a broad indication of how likely a terrorist attack will actually happen or not.

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) monitors the threat level daily and sits within the Security Service, otherwise known as MI5.

Information is passed from the public, police, security services or other means, this information is then assessed and analysed based on other information the security services may hold, it is then fused together and then it becomes intelligence.

Despite this rigorous process, intelligence cannot always be accurate.

When a terror attack has happened or the security services have strong leads to an attack possibly happening, a COBRA meeting is called.

COBRA stands for, Cabinet Office Briefing Room ‘A’, the COBRA committee meetings are usually held in Whitehall at one of the Cabinet Offices buildings or meeting room ‘A’ at 70 Whitehall, London.

The first ever COBRA meeting took place in 1972 during the miner’s strike, since then and more recently the UK threat level has been raised to ‘critical’ four times since August 2006.

There are five threat levels:

Critical: An attack is expected imminently

Severe: An attack is highly likely

Substantial: Strong possibility of an attack

Moderate: An attack is possible but not likely

Low: An attack is unlikely

Timeline of UK threat level being raised to critical since 2006:

August 2006:

The UK threat level moved to Critical following the transatlantic aircraft plot, this is where a plot to blow up planes using a liquid explosive on board planes from the UK to the US.

This plot was only uncovered by pure chance, a call was made from Pakistan that prompted the security services to act very quickly, this chance intercepted call foiled the plots.

June 2007:

Britain witnessed on the news channels the Glasgow Airport attack, a terrorist rammed his Cherokee Jeep into the airport terminal, the vehicle was filled with propane canisters.

The previous day a car outside Tiger Tiger night club on Haymarket was discovered, the car did not detonate. As a result of the UK threat level was raised to Critical.

May 2017:

The horrific Manchester bombings happened at the Ariana Grande concert, 23 people were killed and 250 were injured.

Two months previously five people were killed in the Westminster attack.

September 2017:

The UK woke up to the news of the Parsons Green terror attack, in Fulham, South West London. Thankfully the bomb failed to detonate properly and no one was killed, 30 people were treated in hospital.

Operation Temperer is now in place for the second time this year, we will see the British Army on the streets of London assisting the police and the security services.

What is Operation Temperer?

Operation Temperer is a government plan that is in place where the British Army is bought in to support police and other authorities, either following a major attack, or in the case where there is an immediate terror threat.

The plan allows up to 5,100 soldiers to be deployed on the streets of the UK, to “augment armed police officers engaged in protective security duties,” this can only be triggered following a COBRA committee meeting.

The prime minister, Theresa May has had to deal five terrorist attacks since she took office.

 

If you have any information regarding any terrorism realted incident, contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on: 0800 789 321 or dial 999 in an emergency.

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