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Threat Levels

This section contains information on the current threat level to the United Kingdom, British interests overseas and Gibraltar from terrorist attacks, and what the Royal Gibraltar Police is doing to keep Gibraltar safe. There are also some answers to common questions about policing tactics and how we investigate terrorism.

How likely is a terrorist attack in the UK / Gibraltar?

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

The threat level to the United Kingdom from international terrorism is currently ‘Severe’. This means that a terrorist 'attack is highly likely'.

The threat level to Gibraltar from international terrorism is currently at ‘Substantial’. This means that a terrorist ‘attack is a strong possibility’.

Terrorist Threat Level

How are threat levels decided?

The threat level for the United Kingdom, British Interests overseas and Gibraltar from international terrorism is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).

In reaching a judgement on the appropriate threat level in any given circumstance several factors need to be taken into account. These include:

  • Available intelligence: It is rare that specific threat information is available and can be relied upon. More often, judgements about the threat will be based on a wide range of information, which is often fragmentary, including the level and nature of current terrorist activity, comparison with events in other countries and previous attacks. Intelligence is only ever likely to reveal part of the picture.
  • Terrorist capability: An examination of what is known about the capabilities of the terrorists in question and the method they may use based on previous attacks or from intelligence. This would also analyse the potential scale of the attack.
  • Terrorist intentions: Using intelligence and publicly available information to examine the overall aims of the terrorists and the ways they may achieve them including what sort of targets they would consider attacking.
  • Timescale: The threat level expresses the likelihood of an attack in the near term. We know from past incidents that some attacks take years to plan, while others are put together more quickly. In the absence of specific intelligence, a judgement will need to be made about how close an attack might be to fruition. Threat levels do not have any set expiry date, but are regularly subject to review in order to ensure that they remain current.

What does the Threat Level mean for me?

Threat levels in themselves do not require specific responses from the public. They are a tool for security practitioners working across different sectors of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and the police to use in determining what protective security response may be required.

Vigilance is vital regardless of the current national threat level. It is especially important given the current national threat. Sharing national threat levels with the general public keeps everyone informed. It explains the context for the various security measures (for example airport security or bag searches) which we may encounter in our daily lives.

What is the RGP doing to keep Gibraltar safe?

Our overriding priority is to keep the public safe by working closely with our residents, visitors, business community, and our local, regional and international partners. We constantly review our operations and contingency planning, liasing with HM Government of Gibraltar ministries, agencies and other local emergency services.

We also use a wide range of overt and covert policing tactics. Covert tactics, by their nature, are not obvious to the public, but overt tactics include the deployment of high visibility policing at a variety of locations.

These additional measures may be put in place for a number of reasons. For example, it could be as a response to seasonal crime patterns or as a precautionary measure in the light of the current threat from international terrorism.

Click here to learn about Project Servator

 

Do Police target specific communities when investigating terrorism?

No individual is targeted by Police because of their culture, faith, race or religion. Our inquiries are carried out under the provisions of existing legislation, which takes into account the human and legal rights of those involved. Terrorist investigations go where the intelligence and evidence takes us.

We make every effort to ensure that minority communities are not criminalised or victimised in any way. The bedrock of British policing, which supports the delivery of policing services in Gibraltar, has always been to work with, for, and on behalf of the community we serve. It would be counter-productive for us to target a specific community since it is not Police actions alone that will ultimately defeat terrorism, but the combined actions of all communities. We need the support and confidence of our community to improve the two-way flow of information, to arrest and prosecute terrorists and to protect the whole community.