Security & Terrorism

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UK Terrorism Threat Levels:

Understanding and Action in the Private Security Industry

The United Kingdom, like many nations, remains vigilant against the specter of terrorism. The threat level system is an essential tool used by the UK government to inform its citizens of the likelihood of a terrorist attack. As of my last update, there are five tiers to this system, ranging from “Low” to “Critical”. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the current threat level, one should always refer to the UK government’s official website.

For the private security industry, these threat levels are not just markers of risk but signposts that direct operational readiness and response. Security professionals play a crucial role in national security infrastructure by acting as both deterrents and first responders to incidents. 

Understanding the Threat Levels:

Low – means an attack is highly unlikely.

Moderate – means an attack is possible but not likely.

Substantial – means an attack is likely.

Severe – means an attack is highly likely.

Critical – means an attack is highly likely in the near term.

Each increase in threat level indicates a shorter time frame and a higher probability of an attack, demanding heightened security measures.

Security Measures at Different Threat Levels:

At levels such as “Substantial” or “Severe”, Frontline Security 24/7 Ltd  and other private security firms should increase their vigilance, reviewing and enhancing their protective measures.

At “Critical”, companies may deploy additional security staff, particularly in public spaces such as shopping centres, entertainment venues, and transport hubs, where there is a high volume of people.

Training and Preparedness:

As an Approved Contractor for the  Security Industry Authority our security teams receive regular training on how to respond to different threat levels, including evacuation procedures, first aid, crowd management, and, crucially, identifying suspicious behaviour or items.

Drills are conducted to ensure readiness and to test the effectiveness of response plans.

Public Awareness:

Our Security Teams are also be trained to inform and guide the public in times of heightened threat without causing undue alarm.

Frontline Security also work in conjunction with local law enforcement to educate the public about “See it, Say it, Sorted” campaigns, which encourage reporting suspicious activities.

Technology Utilisation:

Use of surveillance technology, alarm systems, and access control must be optimised as per the threat level. At higher threat levels, there may be a need for increased monitoring and quick reaction capabilities.

Cybersecurity measures should also be robust, as the threat is not only physical; cyber terrorism is a growing concern.


Efficient and clear communication channels between security firms, local law enforcement, and national security agencies are crucial, particularly during a heightened threat level.

Real-time information sharing can help pre-empt attacks or minimise their impact should they occur.

Tips for Members of the Public:

Stay Informed:

Regularly check the UK government’s threat level and follow any guidance provided.

Be aware of local news and any information that could indicate an increased security risk.

Be Vigilant:

If you see something that looks suspicious or out of place, do not ignore it. Contact the local police or security personnel.

Watch for unattended bags in public areas or any suspicious behavior.

Be Prepared:

Know the emergency procedures for your workplace, children’s school, and other places you frequent.

Have an emergency contact list and a family reunification plan.

Stay Calm:

In the unlikely event of finding yourself in a security incident, try to remain calm and follow the instructions of security personnel and law enforcement.

For further advice and resources, the UK’s Counter Terrorism Policing provides guidance through its website  and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) offers detailed advice and training resources for businesses and individuals.

The private security industry is an essential ally in the effort to maintain public safety. By staying informed, prepared, and engaged, security professionals and the public can work together to mitigate the threat of terrorism in the UK.

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