The UK’s resilience to terrorism is to be stepped up, as the Government announces details for the Protect Duty, now to be known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.
Working closely with security partners, business and victims’ groups, the new duty will require venues, including retail destinations, to take steps to improve public safety, with measures dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place. Martyn’s Law will ensure that security preparedness is delivered consistently across the UK, ensuring better protection of the public.
The plans have been developed following public consultation and extensive engagement across industry, charities, local authorities, security experts and with survivors. Seventy per cent of the thousands who responded to the consultation agreed that those responsible for publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect the public from potential attacks.
Martyn’s Law will follow a tiered model linked to activity that takes place at a location and its capacity aimed to prevent undue burden on businesses.
A standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100 which can undertake low-cost, simple yet effective activities to improve preparedness. This will include training, information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers progress or knowledge on lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff while awaiting emergency services.
An enhanced tier will focus on high-capacity locations in recognition of the potential consequences of a successful attack. Locations with a capacity of over 800 people at any time, will additionally be required to undertake a risk assessment to inform the development and implementation of a thorough security plan. Subsequent measures could include developing a vigilance and security culture, implementation of physical measures like CCTV or new systems and processes to enable better consideration of security.
The Government will establish an inspection and enforcement regime, promoting compliance and positive cultural change and issuing credible and fair sanctions for serious breaches.
Dedicated statutory guidance and bespoke support will be provided by the Government to ensure those in scope can effectively discharge their responsibilities, with even small venues also able to benefit from this and take voluntary action. Expert advice, training and guidance is also already available on the online protective security hub, ProtectUK.
Martyn’s Law will extend to and apply across the whole of the United Kingdom and the Government will publish draft legislation in the early Spring to ensure the law stands the test of time.
Responding to the Government announcement, Kay Buxton, chief executive of Marble Arch London BID, said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement requiring venues and local authorities to have preventative action plans against terror attacks. Marble Arch is home to multiple venues which have a capacity of 100 or more and these destinations will now have a Duty to Protect under the new laws. We also welcome the Government’s tiered proposals, with responsibilities tapered against assessments of expected audience and type of activity taking place. This provides the practical foundations from which businesses can develop their preparedness plans and ongoing training programmes. As a BID we already work with our hospitality and leisure venues, as well as our security partners, to ensure the district is a safe and welcoming place for all. Following the announcement that a Duty to Protect will be enshrined in legislation, we will support our members to meet the new statutory framework, providing the tools and advice they need to ensure the continued safety and security for those who live, work and visit Marble Arch.”