British Army Operation Temperer Soldier on guard outisde No 10 Downing St, London, 24 May 2017, by Katie Chan (CC4)

Operation Temperer: Terror Threat Reduced

Soldiers See Threat Level Reduced to Severe

With the British Army on the streets providing armed support to the police, the terrorist threat level has been reduced from Critical to Severe, according to an announcement made by the Ministry of Defence, Saturday, May 27.

Units from the Foot Guards, the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Artillery rapidly deployed across London following the Critical level announcement on May 23. As the threat level is reduced it is likely that these soldiers will soon stand down.

Statement from National Counter-Terrorism Policing Lead

National Counter Terrorism Policing Lead, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley gave an update on the Manchester investigation and the threat level to the UK from international terrorism being moved from Critical to Severe.

Terror Network Smashed

The high pace and rapid progress of this investigation is continuing. There were three more arrests overnight and we now have 11 men in custody. There are now 17 searches either concluded or continuing at various addresses largely in the north west of the country and we are getting a greater understanding of the preparation of the bomb.

Terrorist Attack No Longer Imminent

There is still much more to do. There will be more arrests and there will be more searches but this greater clarity and this progress has led JTAC – the independent body that assess threat – to come to the judgement that an attack is no longer imminent. And you will have heard consequently the Prime Minister’s announcement that the threat level has moved down from Critical to Severe which of course means that an attack is highly likely.

High-Level Policing Continues This Weekend

 

Members of the public this weekend will be wondering what that means in terms of the events they are going to on this sunny bank holiday weekend. For practical and precautionary reasons we made the decision that the resources we planned for this weekend’s events will continue. So the public will still see that high level of policing presence; some armed, some unarmed.

Operation Temperer Will Be Phased Out

Once we get past the weekend, we will be looking to step down the extra resources we have had in place over the last week. And the military support we have had in place over the past few days, under Operation Temperer we will start to phase out as well. There are detailed plans in place to ensure a smooth transition from Operation Temperer, and military personnel will remain at readiness to deploy in support of the police should future security situations require.”

Further Terrorist Attacks Highly Likely

Although the UK terror threat level has now been reduced to Severe, Severe still means that an attack is highly likely. According to MI5, this is the level for what they are calling “international terrorism” – that is, Islamic terrorism. There is an ongoing threat level of Substantial for Northern Ireland-related attacks.

What Are Threat Levels?

The British government has devised a five-tier threat level system to warn people of the likelihood of terrorist attack. Since 2006 these have been published.

CRITICAL An attack is expected imminently
SEVERE An attack is highly likely
SUBSTANTIAL An attack is a strong possibility
MODERATE An attack is possible but not likely
LOW An attack is unlikely

The Ministry of Defence advises the public to be “Alert not Alarmed” and to report suspicious behaviour.

Severe Means Stay Alert

Action Counters Terrorism advises reporting the following suspicious activity which could be terrorism related:

  • Anyone hiring or acquiring large vehicles or similar for no obvious reason
  • Anyone buying or storing a large amount of chemicals, fertilisers or gas cylinders for no obvious reasons
  • Anyone taking notes or photos of security arrangements, or inspecting CCTV in an unusual way
  • Anyone visiting the dark web, ordering unusual items online or carrying out unusual bank transactions
  • Anyone who has illegal firearms or other weapons or has shown an interest in obtaining them
  • Anyone holding passports or other documents in different names, for no obvious reasons
  • Anyone who goes away traveling for long periods of time but is vague about where they are going

The confidential number to report such activity to the police is 0800 789 321. In an emergency always dial 999.

Operation Temperer to End Soon

The British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Operation Temperer on May 23, the day after the Islamic terrorist attack in Manchester. The British Army were rapidly deployed to key sites to provide armed protection. Armed police supported by the military will still be visible over the weekend of May 27 to 28, but this will reduce from Monday, May 29.

The UK threat level has been at severe, or above, since August 29, 2014.

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