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Marching towards Martyn’s Law

Barrie Millett, Director of Assurance, Mitie stresses the role of facilities managers in preparing venues for the new security legislation

In May I walked alongside Figen Murray OBE, the bereaved mother of Martyn Hett, who died in the Manchester Arena terror attacks, on part of her 200-mile walk from Manchester Arena to 10 Downing Street. It was an inspiring day and I was proud to support Figen’s campaign, urging the Prime Minister to keep his promise to improve public safety and introduce Martyn’s Law.

Formally known as the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, Martyn’s Law was drawn up in response to the recommendation of the Manchester Arena Inquiry in the aftermath of the 2017 attack. The Bill will require those responsible for publicly accessible venues and locations to take steps to improve the safety of visitors and consider how to respond to an attack.

Security teams, in particular, have a central role to play in supporting preparedness for a security attack, but Martyn’s Law also has implications for all team members. Collaboration between stakeholders, including security and facilities management teams, will enable us all to collectively put our best foot forward when it comes to implementing the new legislation.


The Bill identifies venues as falling into two categories. Those with a capacity of less than 800 people, fall into the Standard tier, while those with a capacity of more than 800 people make up the Enhanced tier. The asks of both categories differ – enhanced tier venues are expected to develop and implement a thorough security plan, while the Standard tier is required to have a tailored plan in place to mitigate harm to colleagues or visitors.

This distinction shows that considering factors like cost and the function, capacity and design of each space is key to ensuring that all venues can comply with the legislation. With their expertise safeguarding and managing whole range of sites from hospitals to stadiums and museums, FMs are perfectly placed to support venues with physical risk assessments to implement the right procedures and security solutions. After all, no one knows a building or estate better than its facilities manager.

For smaller venues this might mean assessing existing health and safety procedures to see how Martyn’s Law can support these. For example, looking at an existing fire evacuation procedure and using this to inform how visitors would exit the building in the event of a terrorist attack or how they would lock down the building. Meanwhile, for larger venues, the expertise of FMs can feed into a full risk assessment of the site such as identifying entry points where measures like hostile vehicle mitigation might be of use.


The unpredictable and devastating nature of terrorism means that we always need to be a few steps ahead of rapidly evolving threats. That’s why digital technology, and intelligence, are an increasingly important resource for venues.

Through the Merlin 24/7 software, our intelligence teams generate live reports on local and national threat levels based on intelligence from open-source data gathering and live incident reports logged by security officers, giving security teams access to the information they need to assess potential risks in real-time.

But by working together with FMs, security professionals can increase the scale of data they have available to identify threats and vulnerabilities and give them all the information they need when it comes to putting procedures in place in the event of an attack. For example, sensor data showing building capacity across different areas of a site could be critical when planning evacuation routes and making sure everyone can get out safely in an emergency. Similarly, it might be a cleaning colleague or front of house team member that picks up on a potential threat first, so having a collaborative approach to intelligence gathering across the FM and security teams could be crucial to detecting risk and saving lives.


For Martyn’s Law to be a success, everyone on site must know how to look for the warning signs of an attack and the steps to take if one is suspected. Aside from specialist security staff, there are free resources, like the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) training, available via the ProtectUK app, that will allow FMs to equip all colleagues with the training required to comply with the Bill. Running practice exercises and stress-testing counterterrorism procedures at regular intervals will also empower colleagues at all levels to feel confident with the steps to take should a threat arise.

Walking with Figen, I was particularly inspired by her motivation to keep going, not only on the 16-day walk itself, but in her campaigning to ensure that no parent experiences the same pain that she has. Our industry is in a unique position, drawing on the expertise of those that understand public venues inside and out, and on security and building data, to support Figen’s mission and play a part in driving forward the implementation of Martyn’s Law at publicly accessible sites across the country. We must collaborate, share insight and clarify procedures for the strongest response against terrorism and the greatest protection to society.

About Sarah OBeirne

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