The UK terror alert has been raised from substantial to severe meaning an attack is “highly likely.”
It has come following the terror attack in Vienna last night which left four people dead.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced this news on Twitter this afternoon.
She tweeted: “The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the UK terror threat level from substantial to severe.
“This is a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat.
“The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.”
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the UK terror threat level from substantial to severe.
This is a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat.
The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. pic.twitter.com/XJa0gXetee
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) November 3, 2020
The terror threat was lowered from the first time in two years down to substantial in November 2019 – meaning an attack is “likely”.
Europe is already on high alert following a series of attacks across Austria and France.
Last night, a man armed with an assault rifle and wearing a fake bomb vest was shot dead after killing four people and injuring 22 others in Vienna.
The attack unfolded just hours before the city was plunged into another lockdown to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
France was the victim of two separate attacks over the last few weeks.
A school teacher was beheaded after he showed his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
Three people were killed in a knife attack at a church in Nice, in what French President Emmanuel Macron said was an “Islamist terrorist attack”.
In Nice, one elderly victim was “virtually beheaded”, officials said. Another woman and a man also died.
A male suspect was shot and detained.
Following the attack in Nice, the French terror level was raised to “urgent” – the highest possible alert.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, UK head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said there was “no intelligence” to link the attacks in Austria and France to the UK and the move was a precaution.
He said: “Overnight, we heard the terrible news of another terrorist attack in Europe – this time in Vienna, where four people were killed.
“Our thoughts are with all of the victims, their families and loved ones of the recent attacks both in Austria and France, as well as all of the emergency service personnel who continue to respond to and investigate these atrocities.
“At this time, there is no intelligence to link any of these attacks to the UK, and officers from Counter Terrorism Policing continue to work closely with our international partners and will of course provide any assistance where we can.
“Today, the threat level from terrorism has changed from substantial to severe as a precautionary measure in response to the events in France and Austria. This threat level moving to severe means it is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK, but I want to stress that the change is not based on a specific threat.”
The independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has changed the UK national terrorism threat level to SEVERE.
This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely.
People should be alert but not alarmed & report concerns to the police.
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) November 3, 2020
Mr Basu added: “Whilst we want the public to remain alert, they should not be alarmed by this change in threat level. We have a variety of established operational tactics that are tried and tested, to ensure that the UK is both well prepared and protected from the threat of terrorism.
“Since 2014, when the threat level was last changed from substantial to severe, we have continued to build on our capability and enhance security arrangements against the backdrop of a consistently high level of threat. Officers work day and night to protect the public and keep them safe from the threat of terrorism and this will not change.
“We have activated the established planning mechanisms across the police service, which will lead to enhanced protection and preparedness.
“Some of this will be visible and involve additional police officers being deployed to certain places and locations, which the public can expect to see over the coming days.
“From this afternoon we will begin to increase our levels of visible patrols and implement other security and protection measures.”
The UK's Terrorist Threat Level has been increased to Severe.
Our ACC Angela McLaren said:
"There is no intelligence to suggest any specific threat to Scotland. However, the public should remain alert but not alarmed. Be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police." pic.twitter.com/DYXz8pTqcR
— Police Scotland (@policescotland) November 3, 2020