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LIVE urges government to revise ‘Martyn’s Law’

UK trade body LIVE is calling on the government to revise anti-terror measures for venues after proposed legislation was included in the King’s Speech.

In his first address to both Houses of Parliament since becoming monarch, King Charles yesterday (7 November) outlined the laws government ministers intended to pass in the year ahead, including to “protect public premises from terrorism in light of the Manchester Arena attack”.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill – also known as Protect Duty – has been dubbed ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the bombing following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.

It will require venues to take steps to improve public safety, with measures dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place. Penalties for non-compliance would range from fines to permanent closure and criminal sanctions.

However, following pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill earlier this year, the Home Affairs Committee warned that it would “place a significant and disproportionate burden on smaller venues” in its current form, while “failing to ensure adequate safety measures at all public events at risk of terror attacks”.

LIVE, the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business, argues the draft legislation has been “rushed through the pre-legislative scrutiny stage and lacks any thorough impact assessment, which risks leaving the bill in a sub-optimal state. Not least in the treatment of grey space in public areas outside of venues and events”.

“The live music sector fully supports cooperative efforts to make venues as safe as possible for fans,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “Venues and festivals throughout the country are already working extensively with relevant authorities and continuously review security arrangements.

“Government must urgently redesign the bill to ensure it is workable, places no disproportionate burdens on venues”

“We share the assessment of the Home Affairs Committee which identified serious concerns about the proportionality of the bill and a range of unfinished provisions. The committee’s report vindicated our members’ view that the draft bill is impractical, misses its core aim, and, through the excessive penalties it proposes, would create existential risk for live music venues.

“Government must urgently redesign the bill to ensure it is workable, places no disproportionate burdens on venues and crucially delivers greater reassurance and safety for concertgoers.

“We will continue to engage with government and parliamentarians to ensure the bill is appropriately revised and strengthened as it goes through parliament.”

Under the current plans, a standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100. This will include training, information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers’ progress or knowledge on lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff while awaiting emergency services.

Locations with a capacity of over 800 people will additionally be required to undertake a risk assessment to inform the development and implementation of a thorough security plan. Subsequent measures could include developing a vigilance and security culture, implementation of physical measures like CCTV or new systems and processes to enable better consideration of security.

The Manchester Arena Inquiry, led by chairman Sir John Saunders, published the final of three reports about the bombing earlier this year, concluding that security services missed a “significant” opportunity to take action that could have prevented the attack.

The second inquiry into the attack, published in November 2022, made a series of recommendations for events after identifying numerous failings by the emergency services, while the first report, published in June 2021, which found there were multiple “missed opportunities” to prevent or minimise the impact of the bombing.

 


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Martyn’s Law legislation confirmed for UK venues

Security at venues is to be tightened in the wake of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack under new rules announced by the UK government.

The draft legislation, which will be published in the spring, has been dubbed ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

Working closely with security partners, business and victims’ groups – including Hett’s mother Figen Murray and the Martyn’s Law Campaign Team, and Survivors Against Terror – the new duty will require venues to take steps to improve public safety, with measures dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place.

A standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100. This will include training, information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers’ progress or knowledge on lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff while awaiting emergency services.

Locations with a capacity of over 800 people will additionally be required to undertake a risk assessment to inform the development and implementation of a thorough security plan. Subsequent measures could include developing a vigilance and security culture, implementation of physical measures like CCTV or new systems and processes to enable better consideration of security.

“As an industry, we remain resolute in our longstanding commitment to keep fans safe”

“As an industry, we remain resolute in our longstanding commitment to keep fans safe,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “We will work closely with government to ensure that proposals, such as the suggested Martyn’s Law, are realistic and workable, and improve safety for all.”

The government will establish an inspection and enforcement regime regarding the proposed legislation, with sanctions to be issued for serious breaches.

“The way the city of Manchester came together as a community in the wake of the cowardly Manchester Arena attack, and the amazing work of campaigners like Figen Murray who have dedicated their lives to making us safer and promoting kindness and tolerance, is an inspiration to us all,” says prime minister Rishi Sunak.

“I am committed to working with Figen to improve security measures at public venues and spaces and to delivering this vital legislation to honour Martyn’s memory and all of those affected by terrorism.”

“Common-sense security, and making sure venues are doing all they can to keep people safe, could mean fewer suffer what myself and the families of Manchester have had to endure”

“Martyn’s Law isn’t going to stop terrorism, but common-sense security, and making sure venues are doing all they can to keep people safe, could mean fewer suffer what myself and the families of Manchester have had to endure,” adds Figen Murray.

“I welcome the government’s commitment to including smaller venues and working quickly on this legislation. It is vital we now take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others wherever possible and I hope other countries learn from this ground-breaking legislation.”

Dedicated statutory guidance and bespoke support will be provided by the government, while expert advice, training and guidance is also already available on the online protective security hub, ProtectUK.

Last month, the Manchester Arena Inquiry, led by chairman Sir John Saunders, published the second of three reports about the bombing and made a series of recommendations for events after identifying numerous failings by the emergency services.

The findings follow the first report, published in June 2021, which found there were multiple “missed opportunities” to prevent or minimise the impact of the bombing.

 


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Anti-terror legislation for UK venues moves closer

UK venues would have a legal duty to protect the public from terrorist attacks under new legislation being considered by the government following the Manchester Arena bombing.

The government has today (10 January) published a summary of responses to the Protect Duty public consultation.

Protect Duty, which would standardise more stringent, airport-style security checks at major entertainment and sporting venues, has been championed by victims’ groups, including the Martyn’s Law campaign established by Figen Murray following the loss of her son in the May 2017 attack in Manchester, which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert.

“Following the tragic attack at the Manchester Arena, we have worked closely with Figen Murray, victims’ groups and partners to develop proposals to improve protective security around the country,” says home secretary Priti Patel. “I am grateful for their tireless commitment to the duty and those who responded to the consultation; the majority of whom agreed tougher measures are needed to protect the public from harm.

“We will never allow terrorists to restrict our freedoms and way of life, which is why we are committed to bringing forward legislation this year, that will strike the right balance between public safety, whilst not placing excessive burden on small businesses.”

A total of 2,755 responses were received from organisations, sectors and campaigners during the consultation period, which ran from 26 February to 2 July 2021. The majority supported plans to introduce stronger measures – including a legal requirement for some public places to ensure preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks.

Taking measures to ensure that there is an appropriate and consistent approach to protective security and preparedness at public places is a reasonable ask

In the ministerial foreword to the government response document, security and borders minister Damian Hinds MP reasserts his commitment to advancing the legislation.

“Terrorist attacks can potentially occur anywhere, in large or small venues, at a range of locations,” he says. “It is vital that the government continues to consider how and where improvements can be made to combat the threat of terrorism and further enhance public security.

“The Protect Duty would be one means by which we seek to further enhance public security, sitting alongside our existing and ongoing work programmes to achieve this aim. I have noted the strength of views expressed in response to several consultation questions, that it is right that those responsible for public places should take measures to protect the public and to prepare their staff to respond appropriately. In short, taking measures to ensure that there is an appropriate and consistent approach to protective security and preparedness at public places is a reasonable ask.”

He concludes: “I recently met Figen Murray… and other representatives of the Survivors Against Terror Campaign Team, who have campaigned for ‘Martyn’s Law’, to ensure a specific legislative requirement be developed.

“I have also engaged with the Counter Terrorism Advisory Network, a national stakeholder forum, whose membership includes survivors of terrorism. Listening to and reflecting on the experience of survivors has reaffirmed my commitment to take forward Protect Duty legislation.”

The government is now set to process its response to the consultation and progress the legislation, with further announcements due from the Home Office over the coming months.

Last June, the Manchester Arena Inquiry, led by chairman Sir John Saunders, published the first of three reports about the terror attack.

 


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