On behalf of Counter Terrorism Policing, statement from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, Senior National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare:
“Yesterday, we heard the terrible news of an explosion in Liverpool, which killed one man – believed to be the attacker – and injured a second. Our thoughts are with the victim, his family and loved ones.
“This incident has been formally declared as terrorism, and the investigation – being led by Counter Terrorism Policing North West – is continuing apace.
“Today (Monday, 15 November), the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) confirmed that the threat level from terrorism has been raised from “substantial”, to “severe”.
“The threat level moving to severe means it is ‘highly likely’ that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK. But I want to make clear that the change is a precautionary measure and not based on any specific threat. Whilst we want the public to remain alert, they should not be alarmed by this change.
“We have seen in recent weeks two incidents declared as terrorism – the murder of Sir David Amess MP in October, and then the incident we saw take place in Liverpool yesterday. Whilst there is absolutely nothing to suggest any link between these incidents, the fact that two terror attacks have happened in relatively quick succession will have contributed to the intelligence picture that is continually being assessed by JTAC, and subsequently has led to the threat level increasing at this time.
“The threat level is designed to inform the public, and guide the level of response by police and other agencies who lead on public safety and national security.
“I want the public to know that officers will continue to work day and night to protect them against the threat of terrorism.
“The increased threat level activates an enhanced police response that is tried and tested, to ensure that the UK is well prepared and protected.
“Some of this will be visible and involve police officers being deployed to certain places, events and locations, which the public can expect to see over the coming days. We will begin to increase the focus of our visible patrols, and implement other security and protection measures.
“Every year, we continue to build on our capability and enhance security arrangements against the backdrop of a consistently high level of threat, working closely with the security services and other partners.
“We are also working closely with our local communities – businesses, faith groups and community groups across the UK – to provide reassurance and seek their support and assistance in keeping the UK safe.”
DAC Twist added: “Communities defeat terrorism, and it remains vitally important that the public remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police. Our efforts can only succeed where we have the support of the public, and communities have shown time and time again that they are united in their rejection of those who wish to divide us, and spread hate in the name of extremism.
“So we would urge everyone to remain vigilant, and if you do see anything suspicious then please report it, in confidence, to police via the Anti-terrorist hotline or gov.uk/ACT. It won’t ruin lives, but it may well save them.”