The UK’s terror threat level has been reduced from ‘critical’ to ‘severe’, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
At an emergency COBRA meeting, the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre advised that the UK should return to the second highest level, which indicates an attack is highly likely rather than imminent.
Operation Temperer, which has seen armed soldiers support police on the streets, will be gradually stood down after the bank holiday weekend.
The terror threat level had been upgraded to critical following the Manchester bombing, which killed 22 people on Monday night.
Theresa May said the decision followed a “significant amount of police activity over the last 24 hours”. A total of 11 people suspected of having links to the terror attack are now in police custody.
However, the Prime Minister warned that the “country should remain vigilant” during the hundreds of events taking place over the coming days – including the FA Cup final at Wembley and the Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham.
Greater Manchester Police said the adjusted terror threat level will not affect its investigation, with the force stressing “the level of resources we have available to us remains the same”.
The announcement came as an evacuation took place in Moss Side as part of a search linked to the Manchester terror attack.
Greater Manchester Police described the evacuation in the inner-city area as a “precautionary measure to ensure everyone’s safety”.
Boscombe Street was cleared by counter-terror officers on Saturday morning, and a bomb disposal van was sent to the scene.
Mark Rowley, the head of national counter-terrorism policing, said 17 searches had either concluded or were continuing – mostly in the North West.
Speaking outside Scotland Yard, he stressed there was still much to do and warned more searches and arrests were likely to take place in the coming days.
Overnight, officers performed a controlled explosion at a property in Cheetham Hill. Two men, 20 and 22, were arrested.
A bus was also stormed to detain a 44-year-old man in Rusholme.
Police say they have tracked down a large part of the network linked to suicide bomber Salman Abedi – with “thousands of exhibits” now being examined by investigators.
“I think it is fair to say that there has been enormous progress with the investigation, but there is still an awful lot of work to do,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said police cuts must be halted following the attack – and claimed the public would be willing to pay more to boost officer numbers.
“The feeling in Greater Manchester now is that police visibility has noticeably dipped. We have seen a 20% cut in police funding since 2010 and lost 2,000 officers,” Mr Burnham told The Times. “We need half of that back, probably more.”
(c) Sky News 2017: Terror threat level reduced to ‘severe’ after Manchester arrests