Martyns Law (Terrorism Protection of Premises Bill)
What is Martyns Law?
Also known as the Terrorism Protection of Premises Bill or Protect Duty, Martyns Law was proposed following the tragic death of 22 children at the Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017. It sets out requirements for UK venues and organisations to provide better protection against terrorism and improve public safety.
When will it come into force?
Martyns Law has not yet been passed as legislation. In May 2023, the draft Bill was laid before parliament. Although the overall intention was applauded, there were serious concerns around its proportionality, especially in relation to its impact on smaller premises. There is a lack of evidence that the risk of terrorist threat justifies the measures proposed, or that the Bill will have any effect on reducing terrorist threats. There were also concerns around the regulator. MPs felt that the thrust of the Bill was aimed at bricks and mortar rather than the real target, which is a concentration of people, or use of buildings by individuals or groups at higher risk of attack.
Why is Martyns law needed?
At present, the UK has no single law providing counter terrorism protective measures or outcomes. This leads to confusion for premises owners to know what to put in place or how to do it. Measures are currently paralleled through crime or safety legislation including the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Licencing Act 2003 and Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Martyn’s law will give the UK, focussed legislation and guidance to enable venues to effectively manage terrorist threats more easily.
Who may the law apply to?
The current bill proposes that it will apply to all ‘qualifying activities’ (including e.g. entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink or a sporting event) at publicly accessible premises (including e.g. hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, shopping centres, university campuses, and music/ sports venues). Eligible premises could be a building or group of buildings (used for the same purpose), or a location/event (including temporary events that have a defined boundary so that capacity is known). These premises will be required to have a dedicated plan relevant to varying terrorism threat levels. Only premises with occupancies above thresholds will be covered.
To determine if your premises or activity falls into the scope of the current bill you will have to meet the following three tests;
- That the premises is an eligible one i.e. a building or event with a defined boundary
- That a qualifying activity takes place at the location; and
- That the maximum occupancy of the premises meets a specified threshold – either 100+ (standard tier) or 800+ (enhanced tier)
What may be required?
The current bill proposes that a standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of more than 100 which can undertake low-cost, simple yet effective activities to improve preparedness, including free training (Government provided), information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers progress or knowledge of lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff whilst awaiting emergency services.
An enhanced tier will focus on high-capacity locations of more than 800 people at any time. These venues will 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, as well as implementation of physical measures like CCTV.
What can I do to prepare?
Until a suitable bill is passed, it would be sensible to review your premises health and safety risk assessment. Safer Food Scores consultants can assist you with this. There are also free resources that have been developed which can help you build your security awareness
ProtectUK is a central, consolidated hub for trusted guidance, advice, learning and engagement with experts in security and Counter Terrorism. It will serve as the ‘go to’ resource for free, 24/7 access the latest information on protective security and will be regularly updated with new engaging content and increased functionality.
- A good starting point will be to go through their ‘security risk management document which introduces a risk management model for you to assess the current measures you have in place to recommended practice: https://www.protectuk.police.uk/threat-risk/security-risk-management
- A new online platform has been developed by the National Counter Terrorism Office (NaCTSO) to help businesses and premises enhance their protective security it can be accessed via; https://www.npsa.gov.uk/protective-security-management-systems-psems
- In addition the National Protective Security Authority has partnered with Highfield training to create SCan. See, Check and Notify (SCaN) aims to help businesses and organisations maximise safety and security using their existing resources. Your people are your biggest advantage in preventing and tackling a range of threats, including criminal activity, unlawful protest and terrorism. https://www.npsa.gov.uk/see-check-and-notify-scan