In response to the tragic terror attack at Manchester Arena in 2017, the UK government has proposed legislation known as Martyn’s Law, aimed at bolstering security measures at public venues. This law, formally called the Protect Duty, is expected to mandate specific security requirements for public spaces to ensure better protection against terrorist activities. As the law progresses through its legislative stages, Security Managers must prepare for the changes it will bring. Below is our guide to understanding and preparing for Martyn’s Law.

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Understanding Martyn’s Law

Martyn’s Law is named after Martyn Hett, one of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing. The law’s primary goal is to enhance the security infrastructure at public venues and spaces, particularly where large groups gather, like concert halls, sports stadiums, and festivals. It will likely require venues to consider the potential threats and implement appropriate security measures to mitigate these risks.

The legislation is expected to apply to a wide range of venues, both large and small, with specific rules tailored according to the size and nature of the venue. This means that every venue operator, regardless of the size of their operation, needs to be aware of and prepare for the implications of the law.


Beyond event venues: Broader implications for all businesses

While Martyn’s Law primarily targets venues where public gatherings are a core function, it’s essential to recognise that venues where public events are not the main activity could also be affected. For example, companies that often use their spaces for conferences, seminars, or social gatherings  could be affected. Outdoor spaces like open gardens and squares will also be impacted.

Adopting the principles of Martyn’s Law will help businesses not only comply with legal requirements but also foster a culture of safety and vigilance. As such, while the law may be specifically targeted at certain venues, its broader principles are applicable across all sectors, and will likely set best practice principles for security, encouraging a more proactive approach to security and risk management.


Key Provisions of the Law

While the exact details of Martyn’s Law will be finalised in legislation, the proposed key provisions include:

1. Risk Assessments: Venues will be required to conduct thorough risk assessments to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities.

2. Security Plans: Based on the risk assessment, venues must develop and implement a comprehensive security plan.

3. Staff Training: Employees should be trained on security procedures and the handling of potential terror threats.

4. Cooperation with Authorities: Venues will need to ensure that there is a mechanism for cooperation with local law enforcement and emergency services.


Steps to Prepare

1. Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment: Start with a thorough risk assessment that considers the specific characteristics of your venue and the nature of the events you host. This assessment should be carried out by a qualified person and identify potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited in a terrorist attack.

2. Develop a security plan: Use the insights from your risk assessment to develop a robust security plan. This plan should include physical security measures such as barriers, surveillance cameras, and secure entry points. It should also incorporate procedures for emergency response and evacuation.

3. Train your staff: Training your staff is crucial in ensuring that they are prepared to respond effectively in a crisis. Training programs should cover how to recognise suspicious behaviour, emergency procedures, and first aid.

4. Collaborate with Local Authorities: Establish a relationship with local police and emergency services. This collaboration can provide you with additional insights into local threats and the best practices for managing them.

5. Stay informed: As Martyn’s Law is still under development, it is vital to stay informed about its progress and any changes in the legal requirements. This can involve consulting with legal experts, participating in industry forums, and following updates from the government.


If you would like advice on preparing for Martyn’s Law or would like to receive our email updates as the legislation progresses, please get in touch.