Start Your ‘Martyn’s Law’ Terror Security Planning Right Now!

Thousands of businesses will be required to have terror-security and terror-attack response measures in place under UK law, and have been urged to act sooner rather than later. 

May 2023 saw the publication of the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, (Martyn’s Law)1 – the result of passionate campaigning by the mother of Manchester Arena attack victim, Martyn Hett. 

The draft Bill will undergo scrutiny by a Home Affairs Select Committee before Parliament examines the content.2  The exact timing is unknown, but the Bill is anticipated to be referenced in the King’s Speech in autumn 2023, with a view to being introduced in Spring 2024. 

The need for public-facing venues and events to engage in terror planning is of high importance, with 15 terror attacks witnessed in the UK since 2017. Martyn’s Law will apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a uniform response being regarded as fundamental to UK national security. 

There is also a strong belief that legislation, with accompanying fines imposed for non compliance, is the only way to enhance public terrorism security. The Manchester Arena Inquiry Volume One Report strongly  recommended legal compulsion. 

Compliance will be required of businesses from many sectors.  

Which businesses will be affected? 

Qualifying activities will be found in entertainment, leisure, retail, food and drink provision, visitor experience delivery at a visitor or heritage attraction, sports matches and events, temporary events, worship, health care and education, but this list is not exhaustive. 

The law will affect many hospitality-sector venues, from pubs to restaurants and hotels to nightclubs, as well as sports clubs and stadia, the tourism sector, theatres, cinemas, health centres, schools and a wide variety of events, whether festivals or county shows.

The degree of a business or event’s legal responsibility will be determined by its capacity. Those with a capacity of under 100 will be encouraged to participate on a voluntary basis, to enhance citizens’ and staff protection, and increase terrorism preparedness.  

Premises with a capacity of 100-800 will be in a Standard Tier, and required to complete a full terrorism evaluation. Businesses must ensure staff are adequately trained and aware of terror threats, understand terrorists’ attack methods and can respond appropriately. There should also be a lockdown plan, evacuation strategy and the right first aid equipment in place. Annual updates – or mid-term updates following changes to  situations – will be expected.  

An Enhanced Tier will cover those with high-capacity venues and events, catering for over 800 people at any one time. Here, planning and preparation for a terror attack should be greater than that required of the  Standard Tier, with rehearsals, a dedicated  Security Plan, measures to reduce the terror risk, terrorism protection training for workers, and the designation of a Senior Officer in charge of Martyn’s Law requirements all expected.  

Implications of not complying 

Regulatory inspections will commence once businesses have had sufficient time to comply. An indication of fines has already been provided. For Standard Tier premises, the maximum proposed fixed penalty is  £10,000. With an Enhanced Tier business or event, it is the higher of either £18m or 5% of qualifying worldwide revenue. 

Businesses should get ahead with their planning by acting now. By signing up to the Protect UK website, free guidance and support tools are provided3, backed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NACTSO) and the Home Office.  

Businesses can also ensure staff are aware of anti-terror measures, such as See, Check and Notify (SCaN) and Run. Hide. Tell.4 

Terrorism risk is also just another aspect of risk management, so your insurance broker should be utilised as a valuable source of  knowledge and expertise, who can help to analyse your terrorism vulnerabilities and exposures, and advise on the appropriateness of dedicated terrorism insurance, too. 

The intention behind Martyn’s Law is to enhance protection, without overburdening businesses. If you require Terrorism Insurance cover, access help from a knowledgeable broker by contacting us.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/terrorism-protection-of-premises-draft-bill-overarching-documents#:~:text=%27Martyn%27s%20Law%27%20will%20place%20a,the%20event%20of%20an%20attack

2 https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/12/19/Martyns-law-factsheet/

3 https://www.protectuk.police.uk

4 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/crowded-places-guidance/marauding-terrorist-attack-mta-run-hide-tell