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Martyn’s Law – What is it? Who does it apply to? When will it take effect?

Release date: it is reported draft legislation for Martyn's Law is anticipated to be published early spring (image: Getty/djgunner)
Release date: it is reported draft legislation for Martyn's Law is anticipated to be published early spring (image: Getty/djgunner)

Related tags Licensing Poppleston allen Legislation Late night Manchester

With a view to stepping up the UK’s resilience to terrorism, the Government recently announced details for the Protect Duty, to be known as 'Martyn’s Law' in tribute of Martyn Hett, who alongside 21 others died in the Manchester Area terrorist attack in 2017.

What is it?

The aim of Martyn’s Law is to keep people safe by enhancing national security and reducing the risk to the public from terrorism by the protection of public venues. The proposed legislation will place a responsibility on certain locations and venues to consider the threat from terrorism and to implement appropriate proportionate mitigation measures.

The new duty will impose a requirement on owners and operators of certain locations across the UK to take steps to improve public safety and their readiness to respond in the event of a terrorist attack to make sure the UK is better prepared in light of possible future terrorist attacks.

Martyn’s Law seeks to ensure robust, proportionate and consistent measures are in place at public premises based on a two-tier model system.

A standard tier​ will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of 100 or more and require the duty holder to take simple but effective measures to improve preparedness. This would include training of personnel, information sharing, and a preparedness plan. Such preparedness will look to include measures as locking doors to delay attackers, knowing available escape routes and knowledge of life saving treatment that can be administered whilst awaiting emergency services.

An enhanced tier​ will focus on higher-capacity venues and locations and require the duty holder to undertake a risk assessment for the development and implementation of a thorough security plan. This would include measures such as developing a vigilant and strong security culture alongside implementation of CCTV or new systems which will enable better consideration of security.

The government propose to establish an inspection regime to enforce Martyn’s Law with the aim being the promotion of compliance and a positive cultural change. However, where necessary a range of sanctions will be in place to ensure that breaches are effectively dealt with.

Specialist support and guidance will be provided to those within the scope of Martyn’s Law to help ensure effectiveness of the proposed legislation. Expert advice, training and guidance is already available on the online protective security hub, ProtectUK​. This hub will serve as the primary ‘go to’ resource for free 24/7 access to latest information and content.

Who does it apply to?

A premises or location will fall within the scope of Martyn’s Law where all three of the following tests are satisfied:

1.         That the premises is an eligible one, i.e. a building or event with a defined boundary;

2.         That a ‘qualifying activity’ takes place at the location. ‘Qualifying activities’ will include locations for purposes such as entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink, museums and galleries, sports grounds, temporary events, visitor attractions, public areas of local and central Government buildings (e.g. Town Halls), places of education, health and worship;

3.         That the maximum occupancy of the premises meets a specified threshold (either 100 or more (Standard Tier), or 800 or more (Enhanced Tier)). To be within scope of Martyn’s Law the capacity needs to be able to be identified, so a building or a location must have an identifiable capacity.

When will it take effect?

The Government says it is not possible to give a specific date of implementation at present, however, it is looking to introduce the legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said: "I am committed to working with Figen [Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett] to improve security measures at public venues and spaces and to delivering this vital legislation to honour Martyn’s memory and all of those affected by terrorism."

It is reported the draft legislation is to be expected to be published in early spring.

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