Brian Sims
Editor

International Security Expo organiser Nineteen Group welcomes Protect Duty

THE GOVERNMENT’S proposed Protect Duty legislation is “ground-breaking” and represents “a significant development” in public safety, rendering venue owners legally responsible for their patrons’ safety: a landmark step previously unseen in the UK. That’s the view of International Security Expo organiser the Nineteen Group, with the trade exhibition specialist noting that the Government’s move will not only “transform” the way in which the UK protects its people at publicly accessible locations, but also introduce a legal Duty of Care to provide security that combats potential terrorist attacks.

Tireless campaigner Figen Murray (the mother of Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017), spoke at last year’s edition of the International Security Expo (another key industry exhibition organised by the Nineteen Group). During her presentation, Murray explained that, while the proposed legislation will not stop terrorist attacks from happening, it will reduce opportunities for them and deter would-be attackers from targeting venues where people congregate, while helping businesses and the public to take ownership of their safety.

Widely supported by the security community, Murray is recognised for her unwavering determination to improve safety, continually shining a light on the human cost of the UK’s ongoing fight against terrorism.

For the owners and managers of publicly accessible spaces, the Protect Duty will require businesses to assess a range of potential threats and implement “proportionate and reasonable measures” to improve security across their sites.

Critical platform

Supporting the Protect Duty, International Security Expo – which returns to London’s Olympia on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 September 2022 – will provide a critical learning platform for those businesses who need to comply with the new legislation.

International Security Expo offers the owners and operators of public spaces (such as sports arenas and concert settings, hotels, Shopping Centres and tourist attractions) the chance to receive advice and source the latest product solutions that make improved safety possible.

With more than 350 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge innovations and next generation capabilities, a Best-in-Class education programme and dedicated zones spanning Disaster and Resilience, Drones and Counter UAVs, Government and Perimeter Protection, International Security Expo affords sector professionals the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and source and test the latest game-changing solutions from the world’s leading suppliers.

Government support

The event, which celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2022, also boasts a long history of Government support spanning the Home Office, Border Force and the Joint Security and Resilience Centre, in addition to the backing of the British Transport Police, Counter-Terrorism Policing and Police Crime Prevention Initiatives. Further, the show’s conference programme and Government Zone attracts high-level speakers. Last year, security minister Damian Hinds highlighted the role of the event in bringing the international security community together to explore the current and expected challenges facing national and global security.

Rachael Shattock, event director for the International Security Expo, stated: “Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed first-hand the determination of Figen Murray and other representatives of the ‘Survivors Against Terror’ campaign team to not only lobby the Government for tangible change, but engage with the security community to learn about current policies and opportunities to enhance public safety. We’ve been honoured to host Figen at the International Security Expo, and now look forward to helping venue operators adapt and source the solutions needed to adhere to this critical Government legislation.”

*For more information concerning International Security Expo 2022 visit https://www.internationalsecurityexpo.com/

**Security Matters is the Lead Media Partner for International Security Expo 2022

Response from the industry

Following the publication of the Government’s response to the Protect Duty public consultation, which ran from 26 February to 2 July 2021, Steven Kenny (industry liaison for architecture and engineering at network video solutions developer Axis Communications) has examined the points raised and delivered a considered assessment.

“Axis Communications welcomes the response from the Government,” explained Kenny, “and, indeed, from the majority of respondents to the consultation process who support tougher security measures to ensure preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks. It’s clear now that the Government intends to take forward legislation to create a culture of security, with a consistency of application and a greater certainty of effect.”

Kenny continued: “We’re not surprised that no mention is made of the use of security technology directly. We maintained from the outset that physical security systems would not be a central requirement of the Protect Duty. Of note, however, are the very strong views expressed regarding the need for accountability, as well as the majority view that a threshold of 100 individuals or more should determine those venues in scope of the Protect Duty.”

Emboldening that last point, Kenny said: “It’s these two areas with which physical security technology solutions are best aligned. Technology is a force multiplier which can improve operational efficiency, accelerate decision-making and, most importantly, help businesses that cater to larger footfalls demonstrate compliance. While not a substitute for practical due diligence and sound staff training processes, we strongly believe that a combined system of physical and behavioural interventions remains Best Practice where such an approach is deemed necessary following a risk assessment.”

In conclusion, Kenny told Security Matters: “Above all else, what’s critical here is that businesses make the right choices regarding existing set-ups and new projects. Greenfield developments, in particular, would warrant a closer examination of the legislative approach now in progress in order to plan for compliance. While selecting appropriate security tools should not be an onerous process, making the right investments will ensure compliance with the Protect Duty and deliver the highest levels of physical security protection.”

Positive step forward

Paul Haggerty, HVM business development manager at Marshalls Landscape Protection, has commented: “This is a positive step forward in improving the safety of all public spaces, but we understand that many local authorities and business owners will be uncertain about how this new legislation will affect them. We also recognise that overly fortifying public spaces is a concern, as this can actually have a negative effect on public perceptions of safety.”

Haggerty added: “There are numerous non-intrusive safety solutions that can be installed in public areas without having a detrimental effect on the look and feel of the space. With many years’ experience of developing fully crash-tested solutions for preventing accidental and intentional vehicle collisions, we are able to advise on the proportionate and cost-effective design of public safety schemes that will enable organisations to comply with the new legislation.” 

To support stakeholders in understanding their new obligations around the Protect Duty, the Home Office has announced that it will be collaborating with the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office and Pool Reinsurance to deliver an interactive platform to provide advice, guidance and e-learning. The site is now undergoing user testing ahead of its formal launch later on this year.

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