What is Martyn’s law & How does it affect UK nightlife venues?

Updated May 2023:

Martyn’s Law Draft Bill Published

The draft for the Martyn’s Law – Terrorism (Protection of Premises) – Bill has been submitted by members of government. The draft bill will now be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

“This is a significant step forward for Martyn’s Law and our ability to further protect the public.” said Security Minister Tom Tugendhat – “I welcome the committee’s scrutiny to ensure that this legislation is proportionate while enhancing our national security.”

The news of the draft has been positively recieved by venues and organisations, including the NTIA and NDML. Almost six years since the Manchester Arena attack, it’s critical this bill is now passed into law.

December 2022:

What is Martyn’s law?

Named after Martyn Hett, one of the victims of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, Martyn’s law will be implemented in early spring of 2023. The new law requires all nightlife venues to draw up preventative action plans against terror attacks, assessing the potential risks, dangers and scenarios in order to improve protection of the public.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, took a phone call with Martyn Hett’s mum Figen Murray who announced his government would table draft legislation. The announcement represents a major victory for Figen who has campaigned for Protect Duty since her son was killed, aged 29, alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terror attack in May 2017.

Protect Duty laws will cover the whole of the UK, affect every nightlife venue and demand action from business owners in the form of preventative action plans. For assistance and answers to any questions, contact NDML. At NDML it’s our mission to protect nightlife venues from the pressures of government legislation and keep venues up to date.

How is Martyn’s law expected to work?

Martyn’s Law follows a tiered model, it aims to improve the preparedness of venues. Taking into account the size and capacity of venues, nightlife businesses will have to submit risk assessments and security plans. Over a 100 people capacity is the basic tier, demanding low-cost effective measures such as training and cooperative information sharing. Over an 800 people capacity, further risk assessments and detailed security plans are required.

The BBC reported that the government will also establish an inspection and enforcement regime, issuing sanctions for breaches, and will provide statutory guidance and bespoke support.

In response to the news that a draft of the legislation will go ahead, Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA said:

“We are pleased to see that the Government has finally confirmed its intentions concerning Martyn’s Law, with the announcement that new legislation will come in, to scale up preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks in public spaces.”

“The NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) & UKDSA (UK Door Security Association) have worked closely with the Home Office, key agencies and stakeholders in the development of the practicalities around the implementation of Protect Duty, and will continue to do so in the coming months to ensure that measures are proportionate and effective at a ground level.”

“The Government has worked with the sector and listened to important feedback from our members at ground level, where proportionality is key and support is given to businesses who need it the most.”

“The industry has been preparing for the implementation of these new laws for some time, building on established operating protocols, but in all cases will require further detail, framework and robust industry guidance before implementation.”

“We must also consider the impact on the private security sector, with security resource numbers during the pandemic reaching an all-time low. We will need to consider increasing licensed operative numbers leading up to the implementation of these new laws to ensure we do not fall foul of resource challenges.”

“Security operatives will play an important role in the protection of public spaces within the night-time economy and will require a similar level of bespoke guidance and training to fulfil their role.”

“While we focus on legal requirements and guidance, it is also key that we consider the working relationships between key stakeholders during this planning process, with operators, security, emergency services, policing and local authorities taking an active part in planning towards ensuring we deliver safer public spaces.”

“Once the legislation comes in, we are confident that the bigger venues and events or “Enhanced Tier” operators will be suitably equipped to deliver the required security measures due to existing processes and considerations, knowledge, expertise, equipment and skilled staff resource as part of an inherent Operational or Event Management Plan.”

“Standard Tier” operators will require more support, in particular, they will need structured guidance, and a clear framework to ensure they are compliant, but given the thresholds released today I feel the considerations are proportionate and achievable for smaller businesses.”

“I would like to say a particular Thank you to Figen Murray for her pragmatism and approach in support of our sector in realizing the challenges we face at a ground level and her support of proportionate and achievable measures across large parts of our sector.”

What Can Venues Do Now To Protect Against Terrorism?

The first steps should involve discussing actions with neighboring nightlife businesses, assessing individual risks, and identifying practicable protective measures. In this way, counter-terrorism becomes closer to a holistic system rather than a tick-box exercise.

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