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Duty to Protect - Martyn's Law

“Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.”
- Anonymous


The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) bill (which will be known as ‘Martyn’s Law) was introduced by the Government in May 2023. The new law is named after Martyn Hett who tragically died, along with 21 others, in the Manchester Arena attack almost 6 years prior to the introduction of this bill.


Although this new bill has received a lot of attention, the threat of terrorism in the UK is not a new phenomenon and many premises across the country already have policies in place or are considering what policies would be appropriate for their businesses.  At the time of preparing this note, June 2023, the current national threat level is ‘Substantial’ meaning that an attack is likely (this is the third of five levels).


Martyn’s law will place a requirement on those responsible for certain venues to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. The legislation will ensure that people are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. All types of hospitality venues, which allow the admission of members of the public will be subject to the new law (as it is currently drafted) if their capacity is 100 or greater.


The proposal is to create a three-tier system for relevant premises. Premises with a capacity of less than 100 will not be subject to the new requirements. Premises with a capacity of between 100 and 799 will be in the ‘Standard Tier’. Premises with a capacity of 800 or greater will be subject to ‘Enhanced Tier’ and subject to additional requirements. Whilst premises with a capacity of less than 100 won’t be subject to the new requirements, it is advisable to ensure that you and your teams have at least a basic knowledge of the act and what it involves.


The new Act will be supported by guidance which will be issued by the Government which will help venues evaluate:
the threat in the context of your premises
who may need information or training and how to deliver this
who should do what in an attack


This guidance will follow once the bill has completed its passage through Parliament and becomes an Act.


Premises will therefore have to wait sometime before they know precisely what the Act requires and the guidance advises.
In the meantime, some premises are already subject to legal obligations to protect staff and customers from risk.  Examples include the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the 1992 Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992.  There are already a number of free and reputable resources available to premises considering the risk of Terrorism.  
ProtectUK is an excellent website operated by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), a police-hosted unit that supports the ‘protect and prepare’ strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
The website includes specific guidance on ‘Publicly accessible locations’, which would include hospitality venues and free online training including ACT Awareness (Action Counters Terrorism) and ‘Run Hide Tell’ which is a simple concept which could save lives and reduce the impact of an attack.
The purpose of these policies is to encourage venues to think about the risk and, where appropriate, provide measures and staff training that could save lives or deter an attack altogether.
Don’t wait for Martyn’s law and ACT today.

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