Are you Ready for the new “Protect Duty – Martyns Law”

The Terrorism Protection of Premises Bill, also known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ is expected to become lawin December 2023 or January 2024.

The bill is the legislative response to the findings of the Manchester Arena Inquiry. It is designed to reduce the risk to the public from terrorism by the protection of public venues – increasing national security and personal safety.

On Monday 19 December, the Government announced details for the Protect Duty, now to be known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn HeB, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist aBack in 2017. Martyn’s Law will keep people safe, enhancing our national security and reducing the risk to the public from terrorism by the protection of public venues. It will place a requirement on those responsible for certain locations to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. The legislation will ensure parties are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes.

There will be a 2-Per system in place:

Proportionality is a fundamental consideration for this legislation. It will therefore establish a tiered model, linked to the activity that takes place at a location and its capacity:

A standard tier will drive good preparedness outcomes. Duty holders will be required to undertake simple yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness. This will apply to qualifying locations with a maximum capacity of over 100. 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.

Premises will fall within the scope of Martyn’s Law where “qualifying activities” take place. This will include locations for purposes such as entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink, museums and galleries, sports grounds, public areas of local and central government buildings (e.g. town halls), visitor attractions, temporary events, places of worship, health and education.

Eligible locations whose maximum occupancy meets the above specified thresholds will be then drawn into the relevant tier.

Charities, community groups and social enterprises own and operate a broad range of locations

(museums, national trust sites, sizeable public venues e.g. The Royal Opera House and National Theatre). Some organisations also hire out premises to others for various purposes. As most locations owned or operated by charitable organisations, community groups and social enterprises will likely fall below the 800+ capacity threshold, the Government considers the requirements to be proportionate.

Standard duty holders will need to undertake easy and simple activities to meet their obligations. This will include completion of free training, awareness raising and cascading of information to staff and completion of a preparedness plan.

The aim is to ensure staff are better prepared to respond quickly to evolving situations, aware of what processes they should follow, able to make rapid decisions and carry out actions that will save lives. This could be as simple as locking doors to delay attackers progress and access whilst guiding staff and customers to alternative exits. It could also enable lifesaving treatment to be administered by staff whilst awaiting the arrival of emergency services.