Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

15th May 2023

Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

On the 2 May 2023, the Government published its first draft of the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, which is more commonly referred to as “Martyn’s Law”.

Martyn’s law has developed through years of governmental lobbying over public safety concerns within hospitality and public venues following the tragic losses at the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. The proposals have been led by Figen Murray whose son Martyn Hett tragically lost his life, alongside 21 other people, in the bombings.

As the bill is now being scrutinised by the Select Committee, we consider the main points below;

The purpose of Martyn’s Law is to place an obligation on the owner of “qualifying premises” to improve security in their venue and to ensure robust, proportionate, and consistent measures are put in place to mitigate the risk of terrorism and improve public safety.

A premises is a “qualifying premises” if its primary function is either; for the sale of food and drink (e.g. a bar), a nightclub, for the provision of regulated entertainment (e.g. a theatre), a sports ground, or a ground for recreation, exercise or leisure (amongst other types which the government may consider to be qualifying).

Obligations of the responsible owner of a qualifying premises will differ depending on whether it falls within the “standard tier” or “enhanced tier”.

Qualifying premises whose maximum capacity is 100 or more people will be subject to the Standard Tier and its duties, whereas those qualifying venues with a capacity of 800 or more people will be subject to the Enhanced Tier and its duties.

Standard Tier duties will include:

  • the attendance of Anti-Terrorism Training (which may include Action Counter Terrorism (ACT) Security e-learning) for all relevant workers.
  • a standardised terrorism evaluation/risk assessment which should consider (as a minimum) what steps to take if the premises became subject to a terrorist attack, including procedures to evacuate/invacuate.
  • a duty to register the premises with the Regulator (The Secretary of State).

Enhanced Tier duties will include:

  • the attendance of relevant Anti-Terrorism training for all relevant staff, which should be undertaken as soon a reasonably practicable after beginning employment.
  • appointment of a designated senior officer for the premises who will be responsible for undertaking an extensive security risk assessment at the premises (which must be updated from time to time) and whose sole obligation is to uphold the relevant duties.
  • the preparation of a Security Plan which must be lodged with the Regulator. The Security Plan must include proportionate steps taken to prevent harm to the public and must be drafted in accordance with the Bill.
  • a duty to register the premises with the Regulator.

Unsurprisingly, the Bill provides the Regulator with wide enforcement powers for non-compliance of these duties. The Standard Tier allows for a maximum fine of £10,000 for non-compliance, whereas the Enhanced Tier is subject to maximum fine of the greater of £15million or 5% of its global turnover.

As a last resort, the Regulator may implement criminal sanctions on relevant owners of enhanced tier premises for certain acts of non-compliance.

Owners and operators of qualifying premises should be aware of the requirements of this draft Bill and preparation should be undertaken to consider whether their current internal safety and security procedures go far enough to satisfy these obligations.

We welcome the Bill in its draft form and consider it to be a step in the right direction for the improvement of the safety and security of the public when visiting hospitality venues. In Manchester we have already seen the Responsible Authorities taking positive and proactive steps to embed the provisions found within Martyn’s Law, with the council providing free ACT Training Courses, along with implementing certain mandatory safety conditions in its Statement of Licensing Policy. Additional information on how and where you can sign up for a free Action for Counter Terrorism (ACT) Training Course can be found by accessing the following link https://cityco.com/event-type/act-awareness-training/

If you are an operator of a qualifying premises and require advice on any part of this draft bill, our Leisure Team would be happy to assist with any queries you may have. The team can be contacted at 0161 832 3434.

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