The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has changed the UK threat level from international terrorism from SEVERE to CRITICAL following Sunday evening's suicide attack in Manchester. Under the five-level threat level analysis system CRITICAL is the highest level, meaning that 'an attack is expected imminently'. The last time that the threat level was raised to CRITICAL was on 30th June 2007 and the level was downgraded to SEVERE a few days later, on the 4th July 2007.
In a statement made yesterday evening Prime Minister Theresa May said:
"The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe.
"As a result of the JTAC’s decision, the police have asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to deploy a number of armed military personnel in support of their armed officers. This request is part of a well-established plan, known as Operation Temperer, in which both the armed forces and the police officers involved are well-trained and well-prepared to work in this kind of environment. The Secretary of State for Defence has approved this request, and Operation Temperer is now in force.
"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 all circumstances, members of the armed forces who are deployed in this way will be under the command of police officers.
"Precisely how the military and armed police officers will be deployed is an operational decision for police commanders and Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police will be making a statement giving further details at New Scotland Yard later this evening.
"In the coming days and weeks, there will of course be many events hosted up and down the country. The police will work with the organisers and hosts of these events, to come to a judgement about how they can go ahead while making sure the people who attend them are safe and secure."