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UK to get public warning system for terror threat

A warning system to alert people about the level of threat from terrorist attacks is to be made public for the first time in Britain.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2006 04:15 IST

A warning system to alert people about the level of threat from terrorist attacks is to be made public for the first time in Britain, two newspapers said on Sunday.

The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times both carried reports that previously secret warnings would be posted on the websites of both the Home Office and Britain's domestic security service MI5 and regularly updated.

The current seven-tier threat level system is to be reduced to five -- the same as in the United States -- but unlike the US Homeland Security department system it will not be colour-coded, they added.

Levels of threat will be changed and the public advised on what action to take but the intelligence behind any updates will remain secret, as will the different "response levels" of the security services to potential threats.

MI5's current system ranges from "negligible", through "severe (defined)" when an attack is "likely", to "critical" when an attack is considered imminent.

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac), which sets the levels, was criticised in the aftermath of the July 7 attacks, which killed 56 people including the four Islamic extremist suicide bombers, in London last year.

It emerged that they had downgraded the threat level from "severe general" to "substantial" a month before the attacks.

The Sunday Telegraph said Home Secretary John Reid was to announce the change -- a recommendation of a parliamentary committee report into the July 7 attacks published two months ago -- on Monday.

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