Friday, 7 January 2011

UK Threat Level raised in Airports...

One of the things I tend to pay attention to a bit more than most of you out there, is in our Security threat indicator level. This is a habit from when I was both in the T.A., and as a Civil Servant. In those days, it related mostly to the threat from Irish Extremist terrorism, and I was no more than a hundred yards from the mortars launch point that the IRA deployed in Whitehall in 1991. Ensconced in our offices, the first we heard was a series of loud bangs, and then things went a tad crazy, to say the very least.

Those were the days when you were fairly sure that the terrorists had at least got a target list together that were aimed at government and military targets, not ordinary people.

These days, extremists don't tend to be so selective. They target everyone. As a result, the old Military Bikini State was updated by HMG (Her Majesties Government), and now forms what is called the UK Threat Level System, as follows:

Critical - An attack is expected imminently
Severe - An attack is highly likely
Substantial - An attack is a strong possibility
Moderate - An attack is possible but not likely
Low - An attack is unlikely

The general threat level in Great Britain is currently at Severe, in relation to international terrorism. For domestic terrorism (read "Irish Extremist Sectarianism"), it's been at Substantial for a while, primarily because of a few attacks in Northern Ireland from so-called 'dissident' groups that opposed the cessation of terrorist acts following the Good Friday Agreement.

So, what does this mean? Not a whole heck of a lot, actually. The papers (mostly the more comic-like tabloids) will raise most likely seven kinds of scaremongering about it, but the upshot will probably be an increased number of Police wandering around the Airports, not all of them armed. It's a fallacy to think that all Police at Airports are armed - they're not. A vast number are, yes, but not all of them.

There may also be an increase in the number of coppers seen at Rail terminals, ports, and so on; aside from that, not a lot will happen visibly. Behind the scenes, the security and intelligence services are probably running around chasing ghosts and shadows, trying to put the pieces together to form a coherent idea of just what the bad folks with evil intent are going to do next - and we've probably a better chance of discerning all that from reading tea leaves, to be honest.

And what does this mean for you and I, your average British John Subject? Naff all, really. Yes, by all means, "Keep 'em peeled!" as Shaw Taylor would say, and report anything you think is a tad wrong to the Police; they'd rather be looking at something that's totally innocent, than picking up the pieces of people strewn over the landscape, where someone failed to call dodgy going on in time.

Above all, don't panic, don't get paranoid, and don't let the buggers win. Do what you normally do, and don't let the extremists win - anything you do over and above a normal level of precaution, such as being a little more alert, is a win for them: So don't let them win!

2 comments:

Yana said...

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Roger said...

Thanks - it's a standard Blogger template, modified slightly to swap the columns from left to right; I find it easier to read that way :-)