Written by: Griffiths & Armour on: 28 Feb 2023
Martyn’s Law Update
The government announced further details of the proposed Protect Duty, known as Martyn’s Law, in December 2022. Introduced in response to the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017, the law is named after Martyn Hett, one of the victims.
The law will require venues and events to conduct security assessments, develop emergency plans, train staff and volunteers and promote public awareness of the threat of terrorism.
Martyn’s Law – Background and Purpose
The government believes that Martyn’s Law is necessary to improve the security of crowded places and increase public awareness of the threat of terrorism.
The law will require certain venues and events to conduct security assessments and develop emergency plans which will be reviewed and approved by the police and other relevant authorities, in addition to training staff on how to stop / respond to terrorist threats and promoting public awareness of the threat of Terrorist acts.
It’s believed that the implementation of Martyn’s Law will make the public safer by ensuring that venues and events have proper security measures in place, and that the public is more aware of and vigilant towards the threat of terrorism. The law is expected to come into force during 2023.
Martyn’s Law – who will it apply to?
This Protect Duty will apply to certain types of premises where ‘qualifying activities’ occur, such as entertainment venues, retail stores, restaurants, museums, sports facilities, government buildings, tourist attractions, temporary events, places of worship, health and education institutions.
These eligible locations must be either a building or be an event within a defined boundary, and have a maximum occupancy that meets certain thresholds (100+ or 800+) in order to be subject to the Duty.
The legislation takes proportionality into account by implementing a tiered system based on the type of activity at the location and its capacity.
- Locations with a maximum capacity of 100+ people (but under 800 people), will be subject to a standard tier requirement. This will require duty holders (i.e. occupiers) to implement simple measures to improve security and preparedness against Terrorist threats. Examples of locations that would fall under this tier include larger retail stores, bars, and restaurants.
- Locations with a maximum capacity of 800+ people, will be subject to a higher and enhanced tier requirement due to the greater potential risk of a Terrorist attack at these high-capacity locations. Examples of locations that would fall under this tier include live music venues, theatres, and department stores.
Martyn’s Law – what will I be asked to do?
Standard tier requirement
Standard Duty holders will need to complete simple tasks to fulfil their responsibilities, such as taking free training, increasing awareness, and providing information to employees, as well as creating a readiness plan. The goal is to ensure that staff are equipped to quickly respond to changing circumstances, familiar with procedures, able to make quick decisions, and take action in an emergency arising from a Terrorist attack or the threat of one.
Enhanced tier requirement
A security plan and risk assessment that meets a reasonable level of practicality will be required of the Enhanced Duty holder. This will require Duty holders to evaluate the cost, time and effort needed to reach an acceptable level of security readiness against the level of risk reduction. This is already a common standard in other regulatory areas such as fire safety and occupational health and safety.
Martyn’s Law – how will it be enforced?
A system of inspections will be put in place to educate, advise and ensure adherence to the law, with various penalties to be used in the case of violations. Additonal guidance and support will be offered to ensure that those who are impacted, have the necessary information on how to achieve compliance with the new legal duty.
A new platform called ProtectUK has been created by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, the Home Office and Pool Reinsurance to serve as a central location for guidance, advice, training and interaction with security and counter-terrorism experts. The law is to apply across the whole of the UK, with the government to introduce this protect duty as soon as parliamentary time allows.