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How is terrorism assessed?

Terrorism is assessed by threat levels which are designed to give an indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack.

What the threat levels mean:

  • low means an attack is unlikely
  • moderate means an attack is possible, but not likely
  • substantial means an attack is a strong possibility
  • severe means an attack is highly likely
  • critical means an attack is expected imminently.

A terrorist attack could occur anywhere using a variety of means and at any time. The terrorist strategy is to generate fear and prevent or disrupt us from going about our ordinary lives and business. In reality attacks are rare, but well-reported in the media.

Who sets the threat levels?

The level for international terrorism is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.

Threat levels don't have an expiry date. They can change at any time as different information becomes available to security agents.

Visit the MI5 website to check the current UK threat level.

How to report terrorism?

If it's an emergency and you are in immediate danger call 999.

You can report it confidentially online to:

Stay safe videos

These videos provide key options for staying safe when the worst happens. 

Run, Hide, Tell

A video from National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), explaining Run, Hide, Tell - firearms and weapons attack:

Firearms and Weapons Attack

National Counter Terrorism policing is providing advice to the public on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack.

The police service has released the short public information film called 'Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack' which sets out the key options for keeping safe should the worst happen.


Prevent is one of the four key stands that make up the Government’s counter terrorism strategy, CONTEST. It focuses upon supporting individuals at risk of being radicalised by terrorist and/or extremist groups, before they reach a criminal threshold. A key component of Prevent is the Channel programme.

Like child protection, Channel is a multi-agency safeguarding programme run in every local authority in England and Wales. It works to support vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism and provides a range of support such as; mentoring, counselling, assistance with employment etc. Channel is about early intervention to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity an addresses all types of extremism.

Participation in Channel is voluntary. It is up to an  individual, or their parents for children aged 17 and under, to decide whether to take up the support it offers. Channel operates in a non-criminal space. Channel is chaired by the local authority. Meetings are held on a monthly basis.

Download our Channel Referral form if you have any concerns about someone

Last updated: 23/08/2022 09:11