Levels of Risk

The response to threats will vary according to the degrees of perceived risk and will be categorized as follows:

Low Level Threat:


A threat which poses a minimal risk.

  • Threat is vague and indirect.
  • Information contained in the threat is inconsistent, implausible or lacks detail.
  • The threat lacks realism.
  • Content of the threat suggests the person is unlikely to carry it out.

Medium Level Threat:


A threat which could be carried out, although it may not appear entirely realistic.

  • Threat is more direct and more concrete than a low level threat.
  • Wording in the threat suggests the person making the threat has given some thought to how the act will be carried out.
  • There may be a general indication of a possible place and time, but not a detailed plan.
  • There is no strong indication that the person making the threat has taken preparatory steps, although there may be some veiled reference or ambiguous or inconclusive evidence pointing to that possibility.
  • There may be a specific statement seeking to convey that the threat is not empty, such as “I’m serious!” or “I really mean this!”

High Level Threat:


A threat that appears to pose an imminent and serious danger to the safety of others.

  • Threat is direct, specific and plausible.
  • Threat which suggests that concrete steps have been taken toward carrying out the threat.

In some cases, the distinction between the levels of threat may not be obvious, and there will be overlap between the categories. Obtaining additional information about the threat or the person making the threat will help in clarifying confusion and formulate an institutional response.