Martyn’s Law Progresses as Government Publishes Draft Legislation

Figen Murray.

The draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, which sets out the requirements that, under Martyn’s Law, venues and other organisations will have to meet to ensure public safety, has reached the next step towards statute. ‘Martyn’s Law’ is a tribute to Martyn Hett who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said:

“The threat from terrorism is enduring. In recent years, we have seen terrorists target the public at a broad range of locations, causing deaths and casualties amongst innocent people going about their everyday lives,

“This is a significant step forward for Martyn’s Law and our ability to further protect the public. I welcome the committee’s scrutiny to ensure that this legislation is proportionate while enhancing our national security.”

Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett, whose campaign for ‘Martyn’s Law’ has informed the process leading to the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, said:

“Today is an important step forward to a safer country. Martyn’s Law will end the ridiculous situation where venues have legal obligations for how many toilets they have but no obligation to keep their customers protected.Of course Martyn’s Law won’t stop all terror attacks, but it will make crowded places better protected and prepared, and make the terrorists’ job that bit harder.Almost six years after the Manchester Arena attack it’s now critical this bill is passed into law as quickly as possible and in the strongest form possible.”

The government states that it is committed to working closely with businesses and other stakeholders to ensure this legislation is proportionate whilst also being effective. Dedicated guidance and support will be provided to ensure those in scope can meet their responsibilities. ProtectUK already hosts a range of expert advice, training, and guidance.

Commenting on this step, NTIA chief, Michael Kill said:

“We have been working alongside the Home Office, NaCTSO and Key Stakeholders in the development of the bill, and are pleased to see that the initial draft has taken into account some of our recommendations as well as considering proportionality, against effectiveness within a wide range of settings.”

“Our priority throughout this is to keep people safe and protect public spaces across our sector from a potential terrorist attack.”

“It is important that through this process, we also deliver clear and concise guidance on the implementation of Martyns Law, as well as address some of the fundamental issues around security resource shortages and adequate training prior to implementation.”

“We would like to thank Figen Murray for her continued support, and look forward to working alongside the Government and key stakeholders in creating safer spaces for people to enjoy our world renowned hospitality and cultural sectors.”

In December 2022, the government announced that Martyn’s Law will introduce a tiered model for certain locations depending on the capacity of the premises or event and the activity taking place, to prevent unnecessary burden to business. The legislation will ensure venues are prepared for, and ready to respond in the event of, an attack.

The standard tier will apply to public premises with a maximum capacity of 100 or more people, whilst the enhanced tier applies to public premises and events with a maximum capacity of 800 or more people. Limited exemptions to the capacity requirements apply to education establishments and places of worship. Guidance and training materials will also be available to premises with a capacity of under 100, should they want additional support.

Standard tier premises will be required to undertake basic, low-cost activities to improve their preparedness, including terrorism protection training and evaluating the best procedures to put in place in order to minimise impact.

Enhanced tier premises and events have further requirements in recognition of the potential consequences of a successful attack. This will include appointing a designated senior officer who must regularly review the security of the venue.

An inspection and enforcement regime will be established to promote the requirements for each tier. In the event of non-compliance, sanctions and ultimately penalties will be issued to premises.

Martyn’s Law will extend to and apply across the whole of the United Kingdom and has been developed following extensive consultation with the public, businesses and campaign groups. The significant majority agree that those responsible for publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect the public from potential attacks.