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Martyn’s Law – Transforming security preparedness in the wake of tragedy

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill is a remarkable initiative aimed at improving security measures at public venues. Mike Bluestone CSyP, Executive Director, Corps Consult explores the impact the new law will have on security measures and the critical role of ‘Responsible Persons’

In the aftermath of the devastating 2017 Manchester Arena terrorist attack, Figen Murray OBE, mother of one of the 22 victims, Martyn Hett, spearheaded Martyn’s Law and continues to champion the cause, advocating for a fundamental shift in how security providers approach event security.

Martyn’s Law urges security providers to pre-empt potential threats, encouraging them to identify the vulnerabilities of premises and events and integrate these insights into their counter-terrorism action plans. It draws parallels to health and safety structures, emphasising the importance of well-informed staff and the need for risk and threat assessments to ensure effective security.

There is a question mark over how quickly it will be enshrined in law, although, significantly, the Bill was mentioned in the King’s Speech last November in Parliament. However, this transformative legislation is set to introduce a series of requirements for organisations to better prepare their security teams to address a broad spectrum of security threats. These are primarily terror-related, but they are also likely to impact positively in terms of preventing attacks that are non-terror related.

APPLICATION: Martyn’s Law applies to any premises with a capacity for over 100 individuals. Moreover, “enhanced premises” with capacities exceeding 800 will face additional security requirements to safeguard larger crowds. Like health and safety protocols, the law is envisioned to make risk and threat assessments compulsory, ensuring constant vigilance and oversight in every organisation.

RESPONSIBLE PERSON: There is still no certainty over exactly what the final draft of the bill will include but a significant element of Martyn’s Law is likely to be the inclusion of a ‘Responsible Person’ for every venue. While there is still a lack of clarity over what constitutes a ‘Responsible Person’, these individuals will lead coordinated efforts and oversee the implementation of Martyn’s Law’s provisions. It is also clear that there will be the necessity for more extensive, mandatory training for all security operatives and staff at relevant premises and events.


While it is not possible at this time to prescribe the precise measures that need to be taken, many forward-thinking organisations have already started to take steps to address training priorities, fostering a strong security culture. Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) training is comprehensive and available for both security and non-security personnel to complete online, which many businesses have taken advantage of. Some organisations are upskilling their people and supporting clients with tabletop exercises and security training/simulations, while others are taking pre-emptive training one step further and preparing contingency plans that consider possible scenarios and how to manage them. This is an essential step – policies and procedures for dealing with threats are key to ensuring a secure venue, but those who are on-site also need to have a thorough understanding of their role and how procedures should be followed.

While it is encouraging to see some progress, there is more that will need to be done as and when Martyn’s Law is firmly on the statute book. Particularly for enhanced premises, trained managers/supervisors who are qualified to understand the fundamental principles of secure environments, will be essential. These ‘Responsible Persons’ will also need to possess a solid understanding of what information and guidance is available, what they can access, and who they can turn to for up-to-date intelligence. Having access to advice from qualified security professionals along with knowledgeable security teams on the ground, who are informed and trained in how to handle the potential threats, is going to be key in helping organisations to protect their venues and the people who visit them.


The draft Bill also alludes to the need for a regulatory body to establish and enforce security standards for public venues. The regulator would be tasked with implementing and supporting Martyn’s Law. This could help create the climate for consistent and reliable frameworks for operational policies and procedures. The regulator would also be responsible for ensuring proactive compliance to the legislation as well as the imposition of both civil, and – in serious cases – criminal sanctions for non-compliance. It would also influence standards for accreditation and the need for regular audits to assess the effectiveness of security measures.

Importantly, a regulatory body would play a key role in facilitating communication and information sharing between different stakeholders such as venue owners, security, police, and other blue light services. A collaborative approach is increasingly important for sharing intelligence given the threat landscape. Similarly, an effective regulator could play a role in determining and delivering consistent and comprehensive training and education, as well as signposting security professionals to sources of relevant information.

Martyn’s Law represents an essential and significant step forward in addressing the gaps in security measures for public spaces and large venues. It will bring about substantial changes to operational and training requirements for organisations, elevating security preparedness for all relevant venues. The potential for a safer future is evident and Martyn’s Law highlights the importance of a collective effort to enhance security policies and procedures at a time when threats continue to evolve.

In association with www.corpssecurity.co.uk

About Sarah OBeirne

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