Terrorist ‘chatter’ raises threat level for UK police
Police officers have been warned to be extra vigilant for their own safety after intelligence emerged that terrorists may target them in an attack.
The internal threat level for police has been raised from moderate to substantial, the Guardian has learned, meaning a terrorist targeting an officer is considered by intelligence analysts to be a “strong possibility”. The threat level for officers on the British mainland is at the third of five levels.
The decision to raise it was made on Friday after the security services passed information to police based on terrorist “chatter”. Officers have been reminded to follow safety measures, such as making sure they cannot be identified as members of the police service when off duty.
Previously terrorists are known to have planned a plot to kidnap and kill a soldier and last year two men ran over and killed Lee Rigby, a private drummer in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, in a street near Woolwich barracks, south London.
Announcing the enhanced threat to police, Scotland Yard’s head of counterterrorism, assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: “The threat level to police officers and staff has been heightened, but we are used to confronting risk and danger; this is what we do on a daily basis, and we are well-trained.
“We are informing our officers and staff of the heightened risk and reminding them to remain vigilant and alert to any possible dangers.
“We are asking them to follow existing policies and good practice. Measures are being put in place to increase the vigilance of officers and staff.”
Rowley is also the national lead for counterterrorism policing.
The raising of the threat level to police is not linked to any recent arrests.