The UK terrorism threat level has remained at ‘Substantial’, meaning an attack is ‘a strong possibility’, despite news that the UK is offer logistic support to French forces in Mali. France itself has increased its vigilance against terror attacks on home soil, following threats from the Al Qaeda-linked rebels that they will ‘strike at the heart of France’ France is currently involved in conflict with Islamist rebel forces in Northern Mali, which pose a threat to regional and international security. Recently air strikes have been used against the rebels, and French troops are being sent into the region. This will be further supplemented by forces from other African nations. As a result of threats issued in response to air strikes, the French Government has ordered increased security at public buildings, transport sites and other critical infrastructure. The threat level is at Red; the second highest level in the country’s Vigipirate system. As a result of the latest intensification in conflict, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande have discussed UK support for the military assistance being provided to the Malian government by the French forces. In response to a request from France, the UK has offered the use of two transport aircraft to move troops and equipment required to contain rebel and extremist groups in the north of Mali. Despite supplying the aircraft, both David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague have stated that British forces will not be involved in combat roles. Following the decision, Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds made a statement to Parliament. He said, ‘With the international community, the UK has been concerned by the potential for terrorist groups to establish a safe haven in northern Mali which, if left unchecked, could pose a threat to Europe and the UK, as well as our interests in the region. Together with the international community, the UK has been promoting an effective political process in Mali, which includes a road map to democratic elections and a mediation process between the Malian Government and the northern political groups. ‘The United Nations Security Council met for an emergency session on 10 January to discuss the movement of extremist forces south. The Council concluded that recent events posed a direct threat to international stability and security. Furthermore they emphasised the urgent need to counter the increasing terrorist threat and reiterated their call to Member States to assist the settlement of the crisis in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085, issued on 20 December 2012.’ Simmonds went on to confirm that the UK received a request for ‘limited military logistic support’, and on the basis of advice provided by the Ministry of Defence, the request was granted. He was also quick to point out that support was strictly, logistic, adding, ‘I would like to reassure the House that British forces will not undertake a combat role in Mali. The Prime Minister has authorised a limited logistical deployment following a direct request from one of our closest allies.’ [Picture: Sergeant Jack Pritchard, Crown Copyright/MOD 2002]
UK Threat level remains ‘Substantial’ despite Mali involvement
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.