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Martyn's Law moves step closer as draft legislation published

The creation of a new statutory 'Protect Duty' was a recommendation resulting from the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

What venues are legally required to do to reduce the risk of terrorism and ensure public safety will vary according to capacity and the activity taking place, according to draft legislation published by the government.

The draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, better known as ‘Martyn’s Law’, will require any person who has control of a public premises or event accessible to the public to comply with a number of terrorism protection requirements.

It has been named after Martyn Hett, one of 22 to die in the 2017 Manchester Arena terrorist attack which a subsequent inquiry found could have been stopped or limited if security on the night had been better.

According to an explanatory note from the Home Office, this legislation aims to create clear legal requirements which depart from the UK's current 'entirely voluntary' approach in this area.

It will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee ahead of formal introduction.

Under Martyn's Law, any person who has control of a premises which holds between 100-799 people will be subject to duties associated with standard duty premises.

Those responsible for a venue with a capacity of 800 or more will have to comply with enhanced duty premises obligations.

Persons responsible for standard duty premises will be required to undertake what are intended to be low-cost activities which seek to improve protective security and preparedness, and to ensure that workers are given appropriate terrorism protection training. 

They will also be required to undertake a standard terrorism evaluation in which they consider how best to respond in the event of a terrorist event, e.g. procedures to evacuate their premises.

Persons responsible for enhanced duty premises will also be required to provide terrorism protection training.

However, they must also appoint an individual as the designated senior officer for the premises or event, and must complete and regularly review their terrorism risk assessment which considers the ‘reasonably practicable’ measures that may reduce the risk of a terrorist act occurring.

They must also implement reasonably practicable security measures to reduce risk and harm, such as those relating to monitoring the premises and procedures to be followed in the event of an attack.

The requirements applicable to enhanced duty premises will also apply to qualifying public events, which are those held at premises that are not qualifying public premises with a capacity of 800 or over.

The legislation also provides for a regulator who will have the powers of inspection and enforcement.

Martyn's mother Figen Murray said: "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."

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