Following two incidents over the past month there is concern mass gatherings could be targeted

Two terrorist incidents over the past month have reflected the diverse, complex and volatile nature of the terrorist threat facing the UK, prompting the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre to raise the country’s threat level to severe.

Threat levels are determined independently of Ministers and are a tool for security practitioners, including the police, to use in determining what protective security response may be required.

According to Michael Lubieszko, terrorism and extremist intelligence manager at security and intelligence servic Dragonfly, there is an increased threat of terrorist attack in the UK in the build up to Christmas:

“The raising of the UK National Threat Level by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) from substantial to severe is not an empty gesture. It means that an attack is highly likely to take place, and has prompted a slew of official messaging asking the public to remain alert to the threat from terrorism.

“But as we head into the festive season, we can expect mass gatherings in both public and private spaces at a scale that has not been seen for almost two years.

“Although seemingly not politically motivated, the recent truck attack in Wisconsin is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of festive events to mass casualty attacks involving crude and available weaponry. That incident was reminiscent of the 2016 Christmas market attacks in Berlin and Bastille-day truck attack in Nice earlier that year, both claimed by ISIS. 

“As terrorist organisations continue to advocate for self-directed individuals to carry out attacks using weapons they find to hand, the festive season of 2021 is guaranteed to be overshadowed by an increased police presence, and extensive and visible security measures.”