The official assessment of the level of threat from terrorism in the UK is about to be downgraded from "severe general" to "substantial", it was claimed today.
Conservative homeland security spokesman Patrick Mercer said he understood the reduction in the threat from level two to level three, on a scale of one to six, was the result of successes in breaking up radical Islamist terror plots.
He said it was "absolutely amazing" that the Government had not announced the change, and warned that it risked losing the co–operation of the public if it failed to keep them informed.
Mr Mercer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Intelligence was received in November 2003 to suggest that there was likely to be an attack across the UK somewhere, that a real plot was being hatched.
"Since then, we have seen some very successful arrests by the security services and, as a result, I believe it will be reduced in the next day or so to 'substantial', which means that there's still a threat but where it is coming from and against whom it is targeted is not known."
Asked whether the Government was right not to announce the change in threat, Mr Mercer said: "I find it absolutely amazing. If we have this graduated series of threats, from threat one to threat six and we are now going from threat two to threat three, why aren't we told this?
"Why haven't we got a single minister of homeland security to say 'Look people, actually things are a bit better, so without taking your eye off the ball, you can perhaps ease things off a bit'?
"Otherwise, we stay as we have been since November 2003, at a higher security state even than the US."
Mr Mercer warned that public willingness to assist police and security services by watching out for suspicious activities may dissipate if people feel they are not being kept informed.
"If we are going to try to enlist the public and make them understand what the threat is and try to say to the average man in the street 'Keep an eye open please, help the security services, help the police', then we need to know what is going on," he said.
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