Assassination of a high profile public figure

Impact 5
upper risk error bar
risk indicator
lower impact error bar
ID 6
Risk theme Terrorism
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


High-profile public figures have historically been targets of assassination attempts. In the UK, the most recent example is that of Sir David Amess MP, who was murdered on the 15th October 2021 at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.


The reasonable worst-case scenario for this risk concerns the assassination of a high-profile public figure. There is also the potential for a small number of casualties in close proximity to the intended target. This high-profile target would be attacked because of the symbolic value and therefore there would be a large psychological impact. Public outrage would be significant and manifest nationwide (and internationally) as it would be perceived as an attack on our society and way of life.

Key assumptions

Outrage may be directed at communities to which perpetrators are believed to be affiliated and any countries/sponsoring group perceived to support them, potentially resulting in heightened community tensions. Although levels of outrage may reduce over time, memory of the event is likely to persist across generations and would be targeted at the perpetrators. Some initial, short-lived anger may be felt about the inability to protect such a high-profile figure.

Response capability requirements

A proportionate response will be deployed depending on the specific attack scenario.


Depending on the individual who was assassinated, there would be different implications. The running of government and delivery of public services are unlikely to be significantly disrupted by this kind of attack.