MI5 - Security Service

Threat levels

Members of the public should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and report any suspicious activity to the police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321. If your information does not relate to an imminent threat, you can also contact MI5 via the How you can help us page.


Current threat from international terrorism

The current threat level for international terrorism for the UK is assessed to be severe

Current threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism

The threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism is set separately for Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).

The current threat level from Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Northern Ireland as assessed to be severe

The current threat level from Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Britain is assessed to be moderate

What the threat levels mean

Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack.

  • 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 

Threat level history

Since 2006, information about the national threat level has been available on the MI5 and Home Office websites. In September 2010 the threat levels for Northern Ireland-related terrorism were also made available.

DateThreat from international terrorismThreat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism
in Northern Irelandin Great Britain
29 August 2014 SEVERE SEVERE MODERATE
24 October 2012 SUBSTANTIAL SEVERE MODERATE
11 July 2011 SUBSTANTIAL SEVERE SUBSTANTIAL
24 September 2010 SEVERE SEVERE
(first published)
SUBSTANTIAL
(first published)
22 January 2010 SEVERE    
20 July 2009 SUBSTANTIAL    
4 July 2007 SEVERE    
30 June 2007 CRITICAL    
13 August 2006 SEVERE    
10 August 2006 CRITICAL    
1 August 2006 SEVERE
(first published)
   

 

Key points

  • Current international terrorism threat level: SEVERE (UK-wide)
  • Threat comes principally from Al Qaida and related networks; and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) 
  • Current Northern Ireland threat level: SEVERE (in NI), MODERATE (in Great Britain)
  • Northern Ireland-related terrorism is still a threat but more so in NI than in GB

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