Introducing Martyn's Law: A Balanced Approach to Counter-Terrorism Preparedness
The government is initiating a consultation on new legislation aimed at enhancing preparedness and protection against terrorist attacks, with a focus on ensuring the public’s safety without overburdening small businesses. This initiative, known as Martyn’s Law, is inspired by Martyn Hett, a victim of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, and seeks to mandate premises to adopt necessary, yet manageable, security measures based on their size and capacity.
Martyn’s Law proposes categorizing premises into two tiers: ‘Standard Tier’ for those with a capacity of 100-799 and ‘Enhanced Tier’ for those accommodating 800 or more individuals. The consultation, particularly interested in feedback from small business operators and community and voluntary sector organizations, aims to refine the approach for the Standard Tier to ensure it is practical and not overly burdensome.
The proposed adjustments focus on outcome-based requirements rather than prescriptive processes, such as specific terrorism training mandates. Instead, premises will be encouraged to develop emergency procedures, including evacuation and lock-in protocols, tailored to their unique circumstances. This ‘reasonably practicable’ strategy aligns with existing regulatory frameworks like Health and Safety, emphasizing feasible and appropriate measures.
A dedicated Martyn’s Law regulator will oversee compliance and support premises subject to the law, including a requirement for Standard Tier premises to register their compliance. The approach aims to minimize financial impact, primarily involving staff communication efforts.
The public consultation is open until 18 March, inviting insights to ensure the legislation is both effective in enhancing public safety and considerate of the operational realities of smaller entities. Following the consultation, the legislation will be introduced to Parliament when scheduling permits, marking a significant step towards a safer and more resilient public space.
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