Implementing Martyn’s Law: A Comprehensive Guide to Counter-Terrorism Risk Assessment for Public Venues

Enhancing Public Safety: Strategies for Martyn's Law Compliance and Venue Security

martyns law

Thanks to the significant assistance from Brendan Cox, founder of Survivors Against Terror, and Nick Aldworth, former Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, ongoing discussions with the government are shaping the finer points of Martyn’s Law, which is on its way to becoming enacted.

Martyn’s Law proposes that venues should provide accessible counter-terrorism training for staff, conduct thorough risk assessments on their premises, address any identified security risks, and develop a robust counter-terrorism plan. It also calls for local authorities to have a readiness plan for potential attacks.

It’s astonishing that such measures are not already standard practice. Figen’s initial investigations revealed a startling gap in regulations: venues are legally bound to maintain a certain number of toilets based on capacity and to serve food at regulated temperatures, yet there are no mandated provisions for safeguarding patrons from terrorist threats.

While Martyn’s Law cannot eliminate the threat of terrorism entirely, it is designed to significantly minimize the chances of attacks in crowded spaces. The objective is not to impede the freedom of movement but to ensure that venues are proactive in protecting their patrons from such risks.

Figen Murray OBE has lead the drive on this following the tragic Manchester incident – you can learn more about her story on her website

Martyn’s Law, named after Martyn Hett, one of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, is intended to bolster security measures at public venues and spaces. While the specifics of the law may still be under discussion, today the it was mentioned in the Kings Speech and demonstrates its potential to pass into law very shortly.

The general principles would likely include the following elements:

  1. Understanding the Law: First, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the legal requirements of Martyn’s Law. This would involve studying any available government guidance, proposed legislation, and best practice frameworks.

  2. Scope Identification: Determine the venues and public spaces within your jurisdiction that would fall under the requirements of Martyn’s Law. This could include concert halls, stadiums, shopping centres, and other locations where the public gather in large numbers.

  3. Threat Assessment: Conduct a detailed threat assessment for each venue, considering factors such as the location, capacity, type of events held, and current geopolitical climate. This would involve liaising with intelligence agencies to understand the nature of the threat from terrorism.

  4. Vulnerability Analysis: Assess the vulnerability of each venue to terrorist attacks. This would involve physical assessments of the site, understanding entry and exit flows, crowd management procedures, and existing security measures.

  5. Mitigation Strategies: Develop mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack. This could include physical security measures such as barriers and bollards, technological solutions like surveillance systems, and procedural changes such as bag searches and emergency evacuation plans.

  6. Training and Preparedness: Ensure that all staff at the venue are trained in counter-terrorism awareness and know what to do in the event of an attack. This could also involve conducting regular drills and exercises.

  7. Interagency Collaboration: Work with local law enforcement, emergency services, and other relevant agencies to ensure a coordinated response to any threats. This includes sharing information and best practices.

  8. Public Engagement: Engage with the public to raise awareness of the threat and encourage vigilance. This could involve public information campaigns and encouraging the reporting of suspicious activity.

  9. Review and Update: Regularly review and update the risk assessment to reflect changes in the threat level or in the functioning of the venue.

  10. Compliance and Reporting: Ensure that all measures taken are in compliance with Martyn’s Law and that there is a process for reporting compliance to the relevant authorities.

In identifying and protecting people from risk, it’s crucial to adopt a multi-layered security approach that includes deterrence, detection, delay, and response strategies. This involves not only hard security measures but also soft tactics such as community engagement and public awareness campaigns.

To discuss the impacts of Martyn’s Law on your venue, contact us to help build your internal risk assessment – Contact us 

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