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“Martyn’s Law”

The Government recently published drafting for their Protection of Premises Bill, known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute to Martyn Hett. Martyn died in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack of 2017 which killed 22. ‘Martyn’s Law’ encompasses a series of checks, standards and security to help keep people safe in public venues.The plans follow public consultation and engagement across industries, charities, local authorities, security experts and survivors. Of the thousands consulted, 70% agreed that those responsible for publicly accessible spaces must take measures to protect the public from potential attacks.

What is Martyn’s Law?

Martyn’s Law will enhance national security and reduce the public risk from terrorism whilst attending events. Those responsible for public venues will have to consider the threat of terrorism, and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. Legislation will ensure everyone is better prepared, ready to respond and understands what to do in the event of an attack. Enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes will deliver necessary protection.

Who will this affect?

Public venues with capacities of over 100 which offer any of the following:

  • Entertainment and leisure.
  • Retail.
  • Food and drink.
  • Museums and galleries.
  • Sports grounds.
  • Public areas of local and central government buildings (such as town halls).
  • Visitor attractions.
  • Places of worship, health, and education.

Eligible premises will be those which are either:

  • a Building (including collections of buildings used for the same purposes, e.g. a campus).
  • a Location/Event (including a temporary event) that has a defined boundary and capacity.

Three tests applied to venues will test:

  • That the premises is eligible – as set out above.
  • That a qualifying activity takes place at the location.
  • That the maximum occupancy of the premises meets a specified threshold – either 100+ or 800+.

How will it work?

The Bill will impose a duty on the owners and operators of certain locations to increase preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks. It will require them to take proportionate steps, depending on the size and activities that take place there. Proportionality is fundamental to this legislation. There will therefore be a tiered model, linked to risks attributed to the activity that takes place, the location and its capacity.

Duty holders of venues with capacities of over 100 (Standard Tier) must undertake simple yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness. This could include larger retail stores, bars, or restaurants. An enhanced tier will see additional requirements placed on high-capacity locations in recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of a successful attack. This will apply to locations with a capacity of over 800 people at any time. This could include live music venues, theatres, and department stores.

What does this mean in practice?

Standard Tier Requirements.

Standard duty holders will need to undertake easy and simple activities to meet requirements. This will include completion of appropriate training such as first aid and preparedness from Protect UK as well as awareness raising and diseminating necessary information to staff. The aim is to ensure staff are better prepared to respond quickly to evolving situations, aware of what processes they should follow and able to carry out actions that will save lives.

This will include measures as simple as locking doors to reduce attackers access whilst guiding staff and customers to alternative exits. This should enable appropriately trained staff to administer lifesaving first aid before the arrival of emergency services.

What will the enhanced tier be asked to do?

Larger venues will need to undergo a thorough and reasonably practicable risk assessment and have a clear security plan. This will ensure they can assess the balance of risk reduction against the time, money and effort required to achieve a successful level of security.

Places of worship, charities and locations run by volunteers

Places of worship will receive bespoke treatment in order to reflect the existing range of mitigation which the Government currently delivers and fund. This will reduce their vulnerability to terrorism and hate crime. All places of worship will be placed within the standard tier regardless of their capacity. There will be a small number of exceptions across all faiths, for those that charge tourists for entry or hire out the site for large commercial events.

Charities, community groups and social enterprises which own and operate locations such as museums, National Trust sites and other sizeable public venues will also be subject to mitigating circumstances. Organisations like these also hire out premises to others for various purposes. As most public venues owned or operated by charitable organisations, community groups and social enterprises likely fall below the 800+ capacity threshold, they will likely fall under standard tier requirements.

Will this affect accessibility?

Most changes will revolve around security systems and processes as well as how staff are trained. Organisations must ensure that changes to their venues as a result of the law do not impede accessibility.

Enforcing the law

The government will establish an inspection and enforcement regime, issuing sanctions for serious breaches. Dedicated statutory guidance and bespoke support will be provided to help businesses become compliant. Expert advice, training and guidance is also already available on the online protective security hub, ProtectUK and from other organisations. Martyn’s Law will extend to and apply across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Advice for the General Public:

The general public must remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to an appropriate person immediately. Guidance includes that people attend a practical or online first aid course. Courses offer the opportunity to hone skills to help both themselves and others should they be involved in a medical emergency.

Emma Hammett

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