Brian Sims

Progress for Martyn’s Law as Government publishes draft legislation

THE DRAFT Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill sets out the requirements that, under Martyn’s Law, the management teams of venues will have to meet in order to ensure public safety. Martyn’s Law is, of course, a tribute to Martyn Hett who was tragically killed alongside 21 other individuals in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack of 2017.

The draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee ahead of its formal introduction.

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 in order to prevent any unnecessary burden for businesses. The legislation will ensure venues are prepared for – and ready to respond in the event of – an attack.

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 among innocent people going about their everyday lives. This moment is a significant step forward for Martyn’s Law and our ability to further protect the public. I welcome the Home Affairs Select Committee’s scrutiny to ensure that this legislation is proportionate, while enhancing our national security.”

Figen Murray OBE, the mother of Martyn Hett, added: “This is an important step forward towards a safer country. Martyn’s Law will end the ridiculous situation where venues have legal obligations for how many toilets they have on the premises, but no obligation to keep their customers protected.”

Murray continued: “Of course, Martyn’s Law will not stop all terror attacks, but it will render 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 that the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill is passed into law as quickly as possible and in the strongest form possible.”

British Retail Consortium assistant director Graham Wynn affirmed: “Given the number of retail premises, Martyn’s Law is particularly relevant to retailers. We have appreciated the Home Office’s willingness to make adjustments to the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, such as the move to make capacity the basis for meeting ever-changing needs, as well as making it more practical and proportionate.”

Wynn also noted: “It will be important to ensure all operational details work effectively, including how the tiers operate at the margins. After closer examination of the detail, we look forward to the opportunity to provide additional suggestions as appropriate during the Parliamentary process.”

Proportionate legislation

The Government is committed to working closely with businesses and other stakeholders to ensure this legislation is proportionate, while 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.

The standard tier will apply to public premises with a maximum capacity of 100 or more people, while the enhanced tier applies to public premises and events with a maximum capacity of 800 or more individuals. 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 require additional support.

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

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.

Figen Murray’s campaign for Martyn’s Law has informed the process leading to the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill. Murray and others have worked tirelessly alongside the Government to ensure the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill is delivered. The publication of the draft legislation is a credit to their efforts and follows a commitment made by the Prime Minister to Murray shortly after he took office that the Government would bring forward the measures in the Spring.

Company Info

Security Matters

Western Business Media
Dorset House
64 High Street
East Grinstead
RH19 3DE

Login / Sign up