Martyn’s Law – an introductory guide to the Draft Terrorism Bill
With the increased threat of terrorist attacks, there has never been more of an important time to consider what can be done to safeguard sports, dance and leisure events and venues, from future incidents. Martyn’s Law, or the Draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, is currently being processed through Parliament with the aim of avoiding tragedies like the terrorist bombing of the Manchester Arena in 2017, where 22 people lost their lives and many more were seriously injured.
The inquiry into this attack recommended that the introduction of a ‘Protect Duty’ on those responsible for publicly accessible events and venues. This Bill will create a scheme whereby events and venues will be required to take steps to improve security and reduce terrorism risks.
Currently this Bill is still in its draft stage and will undergo further consultancy and amendments, so this is only to be read as an introductory guide to the proposed legislation. The legislation for Martyn’s Law is likely to have six main requirements:
- Evaluation and assessment of terrorist risk
- Provision or terrorism protection training
- Security measures
- Designated senior officer
- Security plans
Premises will fall within scope of the legislation where ‘qualifying activities’ take place. These include entertainment and leisure, sports, food and drink, museums and galleries, temporary events, visitor attractions and places of worship, and even education and health.
Eligible premises can include: Buildings (or a collection of buildings – such as a school campus) and Events / Locations with a defined boundary. These premises will then have to respond to the legislation to differing degrees, depending upon their maximum occupancy, either 100+ or 800+.
- Premises in the 100+ category will need to undertake basic compliance such as a written plan, training, awareness raising and educating staff.
- Premises in the 800+ category will also be required to have a designated senior officer, conduct risk assessments and security plans to a higher standard and take measures to reduce risks at the premises and in the vicinity. They may also be required to notify the regulator.
The aim is to ensure that risks are reduced and awareness is increased so that in the event of an incident the response is more efficient and lives are saved. It is also intended that training and support is provided nationally and locally to assist organisations to meet these requirements and many local authorities and trade bodies are already starting to provide advice.