The Protect Duty – Moves to make publicly accessible spaces safer

Greg Davies 2022

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
8th July 2022

Also known as “Martyn’s Law”, the legislative process started a s a result of an active campaign by Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett was one of the 23 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

The legislation aims to increase the responsibility of owner and managers of publicly accessible spaces for security against terror attacks. The consultation outlined four key areas for response covering:

  1. Who/where should legislation apply to?
  2. What should the requirements be for those parties within scope?
  3. How should the compliance process work?
  4. How should government best support and work with partners?

Over 2,750 responses were received to the consultation and number of the key findings from the exercise were:

  • 70% of respondents agreed that those responsible for publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect the public;
  • 66% of respondents thought the Government’s cost and benefit estimates were wrong, citing examples of additional cost such added policing requirements and insurance premiums;
  • 50% of respondents were in favour of an inspectorate that would identify key vulnerabilities and areas for improvement and share best practice;
  • Clear lines of accountability, such as the relative roles and responsibilities amongst for example event organisers and owners were needed; and
  • Clear guidance to support organisations in complying with the requirements would be needed (with an emphasis on clarity, ensuring guidance was specific to different applications, physical security measures, etc.).

Although the details of the legislation (and how it will be enforced) are not yet finalised, risk assessment, training and education will be core themes and organisations with over 250 people that operate locations the public can access (either paid or freely) will fall into scope. Government guidance highlights several areas the legislation will require of organisations, including:

  • The type of attacks may occur and the likelihood of them occurring at any given time;
  • Identifying the risks at your premises and mitigating these as needed; and
  • Developing a plan to manage and monitor your organisational risks and implementing measures to reduce them.

With these aims in mind, is your organisation aware of the potential changes and how you should be shaping your thinking to meet them?