What is Martyn's Law Protect Duty? Exclusive interview with Figen Murray OBE

HowToAV speaks to Figen Murray OBE about Martyn's Law (also referred to as The Terrorism Bill or Protect Duty) which will place responsibility upon venues, public buildings and certain locations to consider the threat of terrorism and to develop and implement appropriate measures to reduce and mitigate the risks.

Following the tragic loss of her son Martyn Hett – one of the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017 – Figen Murray OBE made it her mission to promote positive change and campaign for legislation to venues and events to implement further security measures to protect the public against the threat of terrorist attacks.

HowToAV had the honour of meeting with Figen to discuss her tireless campaigning and the imminent implementation of Martyn’s Law and the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill.

Figen Murray OBE, Martyn's Law"Martyn’s Law isn’t going to stop terrorism, but common-sense security, and making sure venues are doing all they can to keep people safe, could mean fewer suffer what myself and the families of Manchester have had to endure."

Figen Murray OBE

Why is there a requirement for Martyn’s Law?

It is increasingly difficult to predict terrorist attacks, so as public access buildings and event venues can often be considered as high-risk target areas, the development of robust, proportionate and consistent legislative guidelines is essential to prepare and improve public safety.
Without legal compulsion to do so, counter-terrorism security measures can often fall behind other legally required actions and requirements. Without legislative measures, consideration and prioritisation can otherwise be inconsistent.

"I realised to my horror that security at venues is literally only a recommendation and I thought I need to change that. I just have to change it."

Figen Murray OBE

What is the aim of Martyn’s Law?

Martyn’s Law - also referred to as The Protect Duty or Terrorism (Protection of Property) Bill – will provide legislative measures to improve public safety against the risk of terrorism in public premises and events venues. Once the law has formally been passed (expected to happen in 2024), it will place a duty on those responsible for certain buildings and venues to consider and implement appropriate and proportionate measures to reduce the risk.

This may include, for instance, measures such as:

  • Enhanced security systems
  • Enhanced security personnel teams
  • Staff training
  • Changes to processes

What types of premises and events will the Law apply to?

Martyn’s Law will apply to a variety of public access premises and events venues. The law will apply to premises and venues with a capacity of 100+ individuals, which will fall within one of two Tiers – Standard Tier and Enhanced Tier.

  • Standard Tier will apply to premises and venues with a public capacity between 100~799 individuals.
  • Enhanced Tier will apply to premises and venues with a public capacity of 800+ individuals.

The legislation, therefore, will apply to premises and sectors such as:

  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Pubs and nightclubs
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Libraries
  • Museums and galleries
  • Sports & recreation facilities
  • Places of worship
  • Hospitals and health centres
  • Bus and railway stations
  • Airports
  • Schools, Colleges & Universities
  • Live music & entertainment venues
  • Stadiums

How will the new Terrorism Law be enforced?

The draft Bill suggests an inspection capability which will aim to ‘educate, advise and ensure compliance with the requirements'.

The regulator will have powers to inspect, investigate, enforce actions and/or apply sanctions (financial penalties) upon any venues or events which do not adequately comply.

Top 10 Tips when preparing for Martyn's Law

While specific requirements and considerations will vary depending upon size, application and location of venue or event, we've put together our Top 10 Tips tips to help venues plan ahead for the implementation of Martyn's Law and ensure the safety of staff, visitors and the general public:

  1. Conduct comprehensive Risk Assessments:
    Undertake thorough risk assessments for your venue and actvities to identify potential vulnerabilities and security gaps specific to your venue and the types of events / applications.
  2. Implement effective Access Control:
    Control and monitor access points to the venue using personnel and technology systems, to ensure that visitors can be screened and authorised to enter and can sfaely and quicly exit the build if required.
  3. Install / Review video surveillance systems:
    Review and implement effective surveillance video camera systems and strategies to monitor the premises, deter potential threats and aid in post-incident analysis.
  4. Train staff on Security Protocols:
    Educate all employees about security procedures, emergency response plans and recognising / responding to suspicious behaviour.
  5. Conduct regular Emergency Drills:
    Organise periodic drills to practice emergency responses, evacuation procedures and coordination with emergency services.
  6. Establish clear communication channels:
    Set up reliable communication channels and systems for staff and visitors to report any security concerns promptly.
  7. Engage with emergency services:
    Collaborate with local police and emergency services to improve response times and coordinate security efforts. They may also provide valuable insights and suggestions as to how your security protocols can be developed and improved.
  8. Enhance Cybersecurity measures:
    Strengthen digital security to protect sensitive information and technology systems and prevent potential cyber threats.
  9. Implement Baggage and Personal Item Checks:
    Screen bags and personal belongings upon entry to prevent unauthorised items from entering the venue.
  10. Promote Public Awareness:
    Educate the public about safety measures, emergency protocols and their role in ensuring security within the venue.

Some or all of these actvities may already be in place within your venue. However, it will always pay to review your processes, policies and procedures.

Though Martyn's Law is not expected to come into effect until 2024, beginning the process of reviewing and acting upon these measures now will help to protect the public without delay - and will ensure you have a significant 'head start' in being compliant with this new legislation.

"I would like everybody to support each other in the industry and share good experience, share good practice ... everybody work together and help put pressure on the government as an industry; I can't do it all on my own."

Figen Murray OBE

HowTo AV's Chris Edwards talks to Figen Murray about Martyn's Law

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