Action Counters Terrorism: Martyn’s Law

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, Martyn’s law, will require venues in Sheffield to act to prevent terrorist attacks.

Martyn’s Law

On Tuesday 7 November 2023, the King’s Speech set out the programme of legislation that the Government intends to pursue in the forthcoming Parliamentary session.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill was included. The Bill is also known as Martyn’s Law. This is in tribute to Martyn Hett who was killed alongside 21 others in the 2017 Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

Martyn’s Law ensures that security preparedness is delivered consistently across the UK.

How it will affect Sheffield

The new duty requires venues in the city to take steps to improve public safety. Measures will be dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place.

The Bill is yet to have a date set to be brought before parliament. It is expected to be passed in some form following further consultation.

It is good practice to do whatever we can in Sheffield to prevent terrorist attacks. This will give us a head start in preparing for the legislation so that the city is in good place for when it is passed.

We recognise there is a need to maintain a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in our public spaces, venues and events. Counter Terrorism guidance is not intended to create a fortress mentality or a sense of heightened fear.

Who will be in scope

To be in scope, premises:

  • and events must be accessible to the public
  • must be used for a purpose listed in the Bill (such as entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink)
  • have a capacity of 100 or more individuals
  • may be a building or outdoor locations that have a readily identifiable physical boundary and access by express permission

Provision is made in the Bill for temporary events, such as festivals, that have express permission to enter and a capacity of 800 or more.

What will it mean for you and your venue, business or organisation

Any publicly accessible location is a potential target. Owners and operators of all such locations in Sheffield need to understand the risks faced and consider appropriate mitigations.

The initial steps to understanding this are knowing:

  • the specific risks the threat poses to your site and/or organisation
  • how and why your site or organisation might be affected – either by being targeted directly, or indirectly because of its proximity to neighbouring sites, businesses or organisations
  • the terrorist threat – the motivations, targets and attack methods vary and change over time

How will it work

The Bill will establish a tiered model linked to the activity that takes place at a premise or event and its capacity.

Enhanced tier

This tier will see additional requirements placed on high-capacity venues. This in recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of a successful attack. 

It will apply to premises and events with a capacity of 800 or more individuals, such as:

  • live music premises or events
  • theatres
  • department stores

Those responsible for an enhanced duty premises or qualifying public events must:

  • notify the regulator of their premise or event
  • take reasonably practicable measures that will reduce the risk of a terrorist attack occurring or physical harm being caused (the reasonably practicable test is used in other regulatory regimes, such as with Health and Safety. It will enable organisations to tailor their approach to the nature of the premises, activities and resources)
  • keep and maintain a security document, aided by an assessment of the terrorism risk, which must also be provided to the regulator
  • if the responsible person is a body corporate, they must appoint an individual as the designated senior individual for the premise or event

Standard tier

Ahead of introducing the Bill to Parliament, the Government will have a consultation on the standard tier. This is so the Bill strikes the right balance between public protection and avoiding undue burdens on smaller premises.

The Government wants to ensure businesses and venues can deliver what is required rather than imposing conditions that they will struggle to meet. This will mean the law stands the test of time and be accessible, proportionate and deliverable for smaller premises.

How to prepare

Consider what you and your colleagues can do to make it harder for a would-be terrorist to carry out a successful attack by:

  • being alert to suspicious behaviour and activity in and around your site, such as people loitering or displaying an unusual level of interest in asking questions, filming or photographing
  • assessing the vulnerabilities of your site to various attack methods and taking suitable measures to mitigate the risks
  • being security-minded in your communications, particularly online
  • Encouraging and enabling a security culture in the workplace, such as ensuring that any concerns can easily be reported and will be acted upon
  • considering how you and your staff would respond to an incident occurring inside, outside, or near to your building or site

Information, training and guidance

Action Counter Terrorism (ACT) offer online training around awareness in their  ACT Awareness e-Learning course

GOV.UK: See, Check and Notify (SCaN) helps businesses and organisations maximise safety and security using their existing resources.

Businesses that are interested in attending or hosting their own sessions provided by the Counterterrorism Security Advisers can contact to discuss and arrange Counterterrorism Awareness Training.

Contact City Centre Management

Moor Markets Management Suite
77 The Moor
S1 4PF

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