Martyn’s Law, officially known as the “Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill”, is a draft bill which will change security’s function throughout the UK. The proposed bill is especially important at a time where events and festivals are increasing in popularity after the lockdowns of previous years.
King Charles III outlined the change to legislation during his King’s Speech earlier in November, framing its relevance around the increased threat of new technology for national security. His speech, which was part of the State Opening of Parliament, marks the key Government priorities for 2024. This means that the Government will consult on the bill as part of the introduction to the parliamentary process.
Why the law is needed
Martyn’s Law was spearheaded by Figen Murray OBE, mother of Martyn Hett, who was one of the 22 victims of the horrific 2017 Manchester Arena Attack. Six years on, Murray and her team are still fighting for better security measures at venues, helping to develop this bill in Martyn’s memory.
A year ago, she spoke at a Corps Security event on the topic at the Royal Opera House. During Murray’s speech, she prompted officers to think from the perspective of someone intent on causing harm, who is trying to detect building vulnerabilities. These thoughts could be integrated into counter-terrorism action plans akin to health and safety structures, that should involve well-informed staff and possible practice runs.
These ideas will soon become mandatory procedures. Martyn’s Law will introduce multiple requirements for organisations to better prepare their security teams for a range of terror and non-terror related prevention and response.
What the law includes
Martyn’s Law will qualify for any premises with a capacity for over 100 individuals. These areas are classed as the “Standard” tier.
Standard premises were initially outlined as requiring anti-terrorism training for staff, information sharing procedures, and a preparedness plan for potential attacks will need to be in place. These plans could include first aid or specialty training for staff prior to emergency services’ arrival. However, the government is currently consulting on the requirements of the standard tier, to ensure there are not overwhelming burdens on smaller premises.
Further duties apply for “Enhanced tier”, establishments with a capacity of over 800. These will require heightened measures, risk assessments to help develop thorough security procedures, a shift of security culture to be more diligent of potential threat, and enhanced security technology. These can be implemented through ‘reasonably practicable’ measures tests.
Once enforced, the law will change the landscape of day-to-day security measures for buildings we protect. The new constant and vigilant eye cast will heighten public safety measures, so attacks like the Manchester Arena can never occur again.
This law has been through multiple stages of development since its first draft was released in December 2022, after the Government consulted the public, terror survivors, local authorities, and security experts.
One major next step will be introducing a regulator, that monitors eligible premises’ compliance and advises them. This regulator will be equipped to address non-compliance, who can investigate any malpractice and sanction and offenders monetarily. They will likely be able to access all areas of sites, interview any staff, and could work with a police presence.
The Law is set to be introduced within the next calendar year. However, there is a possible change of Government during a General Election possibly between Autumn 2024 and January 2025. The recent ministerial appointment Rt Hon James Cleverly MP as the Home Secretary may also slow down the Law’s finalisation.
Stay up to date
Martyn’s Law is not final. It will require further parliamentary review and Governmental changes may totally transform it by the point that it is introduced to law.
To follow these changes, be sure to stay up to date with Corps Consult’s monthly Intelligence Updates, as part of our Corps Relay. These updates includes any developments on Martyn’s Law and what we can expect in upcoming months. The November update on the bill is featured on page 6.
Martyn’s Law is set to be a welcomed and comprehensive change to the security industry. Ensuring counter-terror training and emergency preparedness will save lives and serve public interest well.