Protect Duty Becomes Martyn’s Law

Figen Murray.

In a move designed to step up the UK’s resilience to terrorism,  the Government has 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.

Working closely with security partners, business and victims’ groups, including Figen Murray and the Martyn’s Law Campaign Team, and Survivors Against Terror, the new duty will require venues to take steps to improve public safety, with measures dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place.

The threat picture is complex and ever evolving. Recent attacks demonstrate that terrorists may choose to target a broad range of locations. Martyn’s Law will ensure that security preparedness is delivered consistently across the UK, ensuring better protection of the public.

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said:

“The way the city of Manchester came together as a community in the wake of the cowardly Manchester Arena attack, and the amazing work of campaigners like Figen Murray who have dedicated their lives to making us safer and promoting kindness and tolerance, is an inspiration to us all.

I am committed to working with Figen to improve security measures at public venues and spaces and to delivering this vital legislation to honour Martyn’s memory and all of those affected by terrorism.”

Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett said:

“Martyn’s Law isn’t going to stop terrorism, but common-sense security, and making sure venues are doing all they can to keep people safe, could mean fewer suffer what myself and the families of Manchester have had to endure.

I welcome the Government’s commitment to including smaller venues and working quickly on this legislation. It is vital we now take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others wherever possible and I hope other countries learn from this ground-breaking legislation.”

Home Secretary, Suella Braverman said:

“Protecting the public from danger is a key responsibility of any government. The terrorist threat we face is diverse and continually evolving, which is why this legislation is so important.

I would like to thank Figen Murray and the Martyn’s Law campaign for their support in the development of this vital reform.

Their tireless efforts have helped inform our approach and the heart-breaking stories from survivors and their families are a constant reminder as to why we must deliver on this commitment to work together to improve public security.”

The plans have been developed following public consultation and extensive engagement across industry, charities, local authorities, security experts and with survivors. 70% 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 100which 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 whilst 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.

Adding to the Government comment, the Night Time Industry’s Association head, Michael Kill said:

“We are pleased to see that the Government has finally confirmed its intentions with regard to Martyn’s Law, with the announcement that new legislation will come in, to scale up preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks in public spaces.”

“The NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) & UKDSA (UK Door Security Association) have worked closely with the Home Office, key agencies and stakeholders in the development of the practicalities around the implementation of Protect Duty, and will continue to do so in the coming months to ensure that measures are proportionate and effective at a ground level.”

“The Government has worked with the sector and listened to important feedback from our members at ground level, where proportionality is key and support is given to businesses who need it the most.”

“The industry has been preparing for the implementation of these new laws for some time, building on established operating protocols, but in all cases will require further detail, framework and robust industry guidance before implementation.”

“We must also consider the impact on the private security sector, with security resource numbers during the pandemic reaching an all time low. We will need to consider increasing licensed operative numbers leading up to the implementation of these new laws to ensure we do not fall foul of resource challenges.”

“Security operatives will play an important role in the protection of public spaces within the night time economy and will require a similar level of bespoke guidance and training to fulfil their role.”

“While we focus on legal requirements and guidance, it is also key that we consider the working relationships between key stakeholders during this planning process, with operators, security, emergency services, policing and local authorities taking an active part in planning towards ensuring we deliver safer public spaces.”

“Once the legislation comes in, we are confident that the bigger venues and events or “Enhanced Tier” operators will be suitably equipped to deliver the required security measures due to existing processes and considerations, knowledge, expertise, equipment and skilled staff resource as part of an inherent Operational or Event Management Plan.”

“Standard Tier” operators will require more support, in particular, they will need structured guidance, a clear framework to ensure they are compliant, but given the thresholds released today I feel the considerations are proportionate and achievable for smaller businesses.”

“I would like to say a particular Thank you to Figen Murray for her pragmatism and approach in support of our sector in realizing the challenges we face at a ground level and her support of proportionate and achievable measures across large parts of our sector.”

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.