UK Threat Levels Explained

Armed Police Officer in London
Armed Police Officer in London

Serving in the British Army during the 90s we worked under what was known as BIKINI Alert State, this was our alert state indicator used by us to warn of non-specific forms of threat, including civil disorder, terrorist attack or war. Signs giving the current alert state were displayed at the entrance to government buildings and military bases.

It was established on 19 May 1970. According to the Ministry of Defence, the word BIKINI was randomly selected by a computer.

The BIKINI levels were defined by the section of the military or organisation rather than UK-wide, and as a result, countermeasures and reactions to differing states differed as acutely as from building to building. The highest levels of alert, RED and AMBER, were only intended to be maintained for limited times. The WHITE state was never used in the history of the system.

threat-levelsIt was replaced by a more general and public terrorism alert status, the The UK Threat Levels, the alert state system used in the UK since 1 August 2006.

The UK Threat Levels currently in place have been in use since 1st August 2006, r placing the old BIKINI Alert System. Current threat level as of 18th December 2015 is at SEVERE, the second highest threat level in the UK.

The current threat levels are set by JTAC (Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre) for international terrorism and MI5 is responsible for threat levels regarding Northern Ireland.

By Mike Buss.

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