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Martyn's Law: A Step Towards Safer Venues.

What is Martyn's Law?

On Monday 19 December, the Government announced details for the Protect Duty, now to be known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

Martyn’s Law will keep people safe, enhancing 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.

Who does the new law effect?

The Gov UK website states:

Premises will fall within the scope of the Duty 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.

Therefore, premises will be drawn into the scope of the Duty if they meet the following three tests:

  • That the premises is an eligible one – i.e., building or event with a defined boundary. 

  • That a qualifying activity takes place at the location; and 

  • That the maximum occupancy of the premises meets a specified threshold – either 100+ or 800+

How will it work?

If the bill is introduced, the duty will be placed on owners and operators of certain locations to increase their preparedness and protection from a terrorist attack by requiring them to take proportionate steps, depending on the size and nature of the activities that take place there. 

Proportionality is fundamental to this new legislation. Therefore, a tiered model will be used to establish this. The tiers are as follows:

  • 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.

What will the standard tier be asked to do?

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.  

What about the enhanced tier?

A risk assessment and security plan, considered to a ‘reasonably practicable’ standard, will be required. This will allow Duty holders to assess the balance of risk reduction against the time, money and effort required to achieve a successful level of security preparedness - a recognised standard in other regulatory regimes (including Fire and Health and Safety).    

How will Martyn's Law be enforced?

An inspection capability will be established to seek to educate, advise, and ensure compliance with the Duty. Where necessary, the inspectorate will use a range of sanctions to ensure that breaches are effectively dealt with.  

What can my business do now?

It pays to consider safety in the workplace, especially when your business is a public space. Most businesses will have the necessary checks in place for fire safety and regular health and safety concerns. But how many businesses really consider the risk of terrorism in the workplace?

Given the likelihood of a terrorist attack for most venues is relatively low, it comes as no surprise that many businesses do not invest significant time or money into training and preparedness.

Martyn's Law will change this. But ask yourself now, what can I do before Martyn's law to ensure my staff and the general public will be safer in your venue? Do all staff know how to lock the entrances to the premises? Do all staff know where all potential exits are in the building? Is it worth practicing escaping the premises to ensure all potential risks are managed before they become an issue?

To put it simply, you can never be too safe. Martyn's Law is designed to protect everyone, and ensure that the correct measures are put in place to hold people responsible for the safety their venues provide. Even if your business is small enough to be unaffected by Martyn's Law, now could be a good opportunity to ask questions about your own safety plans.

You can find more details on Martyn's law here






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