UK Threat level raised to 'critical'

Written by Tom Freeman on 24 May 2017 in News

Theresa May sends troops onto the streets amid warnings another attack could be 'imminent'

​MI5 Building - Anthony Devlin/PA

MI5 has upgraded the threat level in the UK to 'severe' after it emerged the suicide bomber who performed the attack in Manchester on Monday night may not have been operating alone.

At least 22 people were killed - including an eight-year-old girl - and 59 injured in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

Following a meeting of Cobra, Prime Minister Theresa May announced soldiers would be sent onto streets as part of a rehearsed 'Operation Temperer'.


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"This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent. The change to the threat level means means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe," she said.

May said she didn't want the public to feel "unduly alarmed" but "This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the Armed Forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations. 

"You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events, such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe."

In Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government's Resilience Committee, which includes the Lord Advocate and senior officers from Police Scotland.

“While raising the UK terror threat level to ‘critical’ has been judged a necessary response to the despicable attack in Manchester, we must not allow terrorism to triumph," she said.

“I urge the people of Scotland to be vigilant but not alarmed and, as far as possible, to go about their business as usual.

“Police Scotland have already visibly increased their presence in locations such as transport hubs and city centres as a precaution. Security arrangements for upcoming public events, including this weekend’s Scottish Cup Final, are being thoroughly reviewed and the public should anticipate additional safety measures such as full body and bag searches.

“Our emergency services prepare extensively for situations such as this, and those well-rehearsed plans are now being put into practice.”

General election campaigning, which was suspended until further notice yesterday, may not resume today as a result of the rise in threat level.

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