If you own or operate a business that’s open to the British public, it’s important that you are aware of the Protect Duty Legislation, otherwise known as Martyn’s Law.

The Government has proposed this new legislation to protect the British public and businesses from terrorist attacks and we expect it to have a significant impact on how businesses that fall under the purview of Protect Duty legislation can conduct risk assessments and manage risks in an ongoing manner.

What’s Protect Duty?

The Protect Duty Legislation was introduced in response to the continued and evolving threat that the UK faces from terrorism. Various attacks have shown that terrorists may target a broad range of locations, often with low-tech methods and little planning. These attacks can cause significant harm and disruption to individuals, communities and businesses.

For instance, since 2000, the UK has seen multiple terrorist attacks on various public organisations, which have claimed the lives of more than 100 people. The Manchester Arena attack is one of the deadliest attacks that happened during this period and claimed the lives of 23 people. Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Murray, one of the victims who was killed during the attack, campaigned for better legislation to improve security standards across public spaces and venues.

The Protect Duty legislation was drafted as a result of her campaign and has been designed to create a consistent and proportionate process for enhancing security across any place or space that the public can access.

The legislation requires locations with public access to take steps to improve public safety, with the measures being dependent on the size and capacity of the location and the activity that’s taking place.

Locations that are required to meet this requirement may include but are not limited to:

  • Sports stadiums
  • Festivals
  • Music venues
  • Hotels
  • Pubs
  • Clubs
  • Bars
  • Casinos
  • High streets
  • Retail stores
  • Shopping centres and markets
  • Schools and universities
  • Medical centres and hospitals
  • Places of worship
  • Government offices
  • Job centres
  • Transport hubs
  • Parks
  • Beaches
  • Public squares and other open spaces

If you operate one of these, what does Protect Duty mean for your business?

Since the Legislation requires businesses to take measures to ensure the safety of their premises, you have a legal obligation to significantly enhance the security procedures in your business. This means you will need to invest time, money and resources into improving your risk assessment and security arrangements.

However, this is not only a legal duty but also a moral one. By taking proactive steps to enhance security, you are demonstrating your social responsibility and contributing to the collective effort to keep the UK safe.

The Protect Duty legislation also means that your business may benefit from increased confidence and trust from your customers, staff and stakeholders. By showing that you care about their safety and well-being, you are building a positive reputation and enhancing your brand image. You may also reduce your exposure to potential legal claims or reputational damage in the event of an incident.

How can you prepare for the Protect Duty Legislation?

Here are some of the steps you can take to prepare and comply with the requirements of the Protect Duty bill:

  • Invest in a robust risk assessment and management solution.
  • Conduct a security risk assessment of your venue or space to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities
  • Implement security measures that are proportionate to the level of risk and the nature of your venue or space. These could include physical barriers, CCTV, access control, staff training, and emergency plans
  • Engage with your local police and counter-terrorism security advisers to get advice and guidance on how to improve your security
  • Raise awareness among your staff and customers about the threat of terrorism and how to report suspicious activity or behaviour
  • Participate in training and exercises to test your security arrangements and improve your preparedness

In doing so you can enhance the safety and resilience of your venue or space and contribute to the collective effort to protect the public from terrorism.

Seek professional support to meet the requirements of the Protect Duty legislation

With the Government pushing ahead with Protect Duty, you need to take the required steps to ensure you completely understand the legal scope of the legislation and have systems and tools in place that can help you meet the requirements of this new legislation.

Working with risk management professionals can help you achieve these goals and improve your security capabilities.