Protect Duty - What we know so far

21st Feb 2023

Protect Duty - What we know so far

What is the UK Protect Duty?

Following the terror attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017 and other similar attacks such as the 2017 London Bridge attack in public spaces, the UK Home Office has begun introducing new legislation officially titled Protect Duty. This will ensure venues and events in PALs (Public Accessible Locations) are taking every possible step minimise the risk to the attendees, staff and visitors from potential threats.

It is expected that the bill will be presented to parliament by 2024 having recently completed stages of consultation.

A publicly accessible location is defined as any place to which the public or any section of the public has access on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.

Protect Duty will be most relevant for entertainment and sports venues, parades and festivals, tourist attractions and shopping centres with a capacity of 100 persons or more.

Event Organisers using Public spaces such as public parks, beaches, thoroughfares, bridges, town/city squares and pedestrianised areas will also be included. 

What is Martyn’s Law?

Protect Duty is Commonly known as Martyn’s Law in memory of Martyn Hett who was a victim amongst the 22 killed and 1017 wounded at the 2017 Manchester Arena Bombings. 

What will Protect Duty mean for Businesses?

If passed, This Anti-terror legislation would be the first of its kind for venue operators, currently there is no legal requirement for event organisers to undertake security measures when operating events in most public places.

The Home Office has estimated Protect Duty could affect 650,000 UK businesses requiring venue operators to consider the risk of terrorist attacks and to take measures to prepare and protect the public. 

For many businesses this will be the first time they will have to consider terrorism in their planning. Event Support Team can help organisations conduct reviews to understand the risks of terrorist attacks and to take proportionate and reasonable measures to mitigate against them.

Venues and events will need to conduct reviews to understand the risks of terrorist attacks and to take proportionate and reasonable measures to mitigate against them. It is also quite likely that some insurance providers will review their approach to covering large scale events.

Event Organisers experienced in adhering to existing health and safety regulations could also have to examine security and counter terror measures in greater detail. Terror attacks methods evolve and change over time.

How can I be Protect Duty Compliant?

Over the last twenty years the UK has seen a variety of attacks including ‘lone wolf’ rampage attacks, Vehicle based attacks as well as coordinated bombings.

Protect Duty will create a need for organisations to both competently develop and undertake thorough risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities and implement proportional counter measures.

Due to the changing nature of Terror attacks organisations may benefit in seeking external support from companies such as Event Support Team who provide expertise and keep fully informed of all possible methods of attack with the ability to help mitigate these threats.

Measure that organisations can take to fulfil their Protect Duty can include: Hostile Vehicle Mitigation; Multi agency Liaison; CCTV Monitoring; ANPR systems; check points.

The Government considers that the owners and operators of public venues and large organisations should be required to:

Use available information and guidance provided by the Government and the police to consider terrorist threats to the public and staff at locations they own or operate

Assess the potential impact of these risks across their functions and estate, and through their systems and processes

Consider and implement ‘reasonably practicable’ protective security and organisational preparedness measures (eg. developing a strategy that ensures you have assessed your site and its use, including suitable mitigation measures to protect staff, as well as staff training, and plans for how to react in the event of an attack)

Develop a robust plan on how to deal with or act as a result of a terrorist attack

For smaller organisations and venues, this would involve simple low-cost (or no-cost) preparedness measures, such as ensuring that:

Staff are trained and aware of threats, likely attack methods and how to respond

Staff are trained to identify the signs of hostile reconnaissance and to take appropriate action

The organisation’s response to different attack types is regularly updated and exercised.


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