“Overnight, we heard the terrible news of another terrorist attack in Europe – this time in Vienna, where four people were killed.
“Our thoughts are with all of the victims, their families and loved ones of the recent attacks both in Austria and France, as well as all of the emergency service personnel who continue to respond to and investigate these atrocities.
“At this time, there is no intelligence to link any of these attacks to the UK, and officers from Counter Terrorism Policing continue to work closely with our international partners and will of course provide any assistance where we can.
“Today, the threat level from terrorism has changed from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE as a precautionary measure in response to the events in France and Austria. This threat level moving to SEVERE means it is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK, but I want to stress that the change is not based on a specific threat.
“However I do urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to police. Now, more than ever, we need communities to stand together and reject those who seek to sow division and hatred between us. We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or escalating towards terrorism. Anyone with information is urged to contact police by calling 0800 789 321 or by visiting www.gov.uk/ACT
“Whilst we want the public to remain alert, they should not be alarmed by this change in threat level. We have a variety of established operational tactics that are tried and tested, to ensure that the UK is both well prepared and protected from the threat of terrorism.
“Since 2014, when the threat level was last changed from substantial to severe, we have continued to build on our capability and enhance security arrangements against the backdrop of a consistently high level of threat. Officers work day and night to protect the public and keep them safe from the threat of terrorism and this will not change.
“We have activated the established planning mechanisms across the police service, which will lead to enhanced protection and preparedness.
“Some of this will be visible and involve additional police officers being deployed to certain places and locations, which the public can expect to see over the coming days.
“From this afternoon we will begin to increase our levels of visible patrols and implement other security and protection measures.
“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.
“As I have previously said, our efforts can only succeed where we have the support of the public – it is communities standing together that defeats terrorism.”