Martyn’s Law: we can help you prepare for legal changes

Those managing leisure and entertainment venues will be legally obliged to ensure their staff and their premises are better prepared for terrorist incidents, once government proposals known as Martyn’s law, are finalised and passed by Parliament. If you are based in Bristol or elsewhere in south-west England and you would like to know how this could impact your organisation take a read of this blog or contact us.

The development of Martyn’s Law

The government laid the Draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill before Parliament in May, which follows a consultation on a proposed Protect Duty in 2021. This became known as Martyn’s law after a campaign by Figen Murray to commemorate her son Martyn Hett. Martyn was one of 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

The government stated in its factsheet on Martyn’s Law that the legislation will ensure responsible persons are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection, it stated, will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes.

Scrutiny of the Draft Bill by MPs

Following the publication of the draft bill the government asked the Home Affairs Select Committee of MPs to conduct pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Bill before it is formally introduced in Parliament later this year. They published a report in July, just before the parliamentary summer recess.

While they welcomed the intention of the bill the MPs questioned its proportionality for small venues and community-run groups. The report suggested that there was a lack of evidence that the Bill would adequately reduce the threat of terrorism for smaller organisations. It was also noted that many of the recent terrorist attacks have not been within venues identified by the draft Bill but on public transport, on the streets or on Crown premises, like barracks.

The MPs also suggested that the purpose of the Bill still needed clarifying as it appears to be primarily focused around dealing with the aftermath of an incident, but it has also been suggested that the aim is preventing terror attacks.

The report from the Home Affairs Select Committee stated: “Because we have not seen the draft regulations and guidance that will provide a full picture of the likely impact of the Bill, it is not clear what the overall balance between the two will be.”

Separately the MPs stated that the Bill could be improved upon through measures including introducing a provision for mandatory life-saving training and statutory standards for the design of new buildings.

Findings and recommendations of the Manchester Arena Inquiry

The public inquiry into the Manchester Arena terrorist attack identified security staff and police failings in identifying the bomber, Salman Abedi, as acting suspiciously despite members of the public raising concerns. This, it was suggested, could have been prevented through better staff training and briefings reminding staff of the terrorist threat level.

Additionally, Abedi had visited the venue prior to the attack as part of hostile reconnaissance and, while identifying him then as a terrorist would have been difficult, creating a larger security perimeter for the venue would have made him less likely to attack the Arena, according to the inquiry Chair, Sir John Saunders. The inquiry report also noted that Abedi took advantage of blind spots in the CCTV system for the venue that he would have identified during his reconnaissance.

Sir John expressed his support for a Protect Duty for large venues emphasising the need for better training of staff, including in the basics of counter-terrorism as well as first aid, and the importance of having enough experienced staff on duty. He also recommended that all staff, whether in-house or not, should be required to hold CCTV operator’s licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Sir John noted in July, at the conclusion of the inquiry, that the government had not accepted this recommendation, although it was supported by the SIA.

Current proposals for Martyn’s Law

Despite details of the law needing to be finalised it is clear that the government will go ahead with key elements of Martyn’s Law. The draft bill currently applies to premises which are accessible to the public, are used primarily for a purpose listed in the Bill (e.g., for entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink, museums and galleries, sports grounds, public areas of local and central Government buildings, visitor attractions, places of worship, health, and education establishments), and have a public capacity greater than 100.

It is proposed that venues with a capacity of 100 or more, which could include larger retail stores, bars, or restaurants, would be classed as standard tier where responsible persons will be required to undertake simple yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness.

An enhanced tier of responsibility would apply to premises and events with a capacity of 800 or more individuals. Additional requirements would be placed on these high-capacity venues in recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of a successful attack.

It is clear, therefore, that those managing venues can start to see the framework of the law and requirements included and can start to take action, which could save lives and protect the public, before the legislation is finalised.

Advanced security systems can help you protect people

As a security systems provider we have advanced options available that can complement the work of security staff and enhance the speed that they can respond to incidents. We are also specialists in the integration of systems, making sure as much as possible your systems are ready to view on a single platform. There are solutions that will be suitable for large retail parks, stadiums and other entertainment venues.

Avigilon CCTV Solutions

Keeping spectators safe in crowds of thousands isn’t easy. Avigilon CCTV solutions deliver exceptional image detail and powerful system control to help ensure the safety of the audience or sports fans as well as the ability to quickly respond to incidents.  Beneficial features of the Avigilon Unity system include:

  • Focus of Attention: this leverages AI and video analytics technologies to help operators effectively monitor dozens or even hundreds of cameras at once.
  • Appearance Search: The search capabilities enable operators to scan vast amounts of recorded video, efficiently grouping video data to help track a person’s or vehicle’s route, identify a previous and last-known location, and assist investigations.
  • Facial recognition: This technology allows you to create multiple watch lists of up to 500 names can be which means even on the biggest of sites security can be managed more pro-actively. You can upload photographs to add an individual to a watch list or use a snapshot from recorded video or an Avigilon Appearance Search result.
  • Unusual Activity Detection: This continuously learns what typical activity in a scene looks like and then detects and flags unusual speed and location of people and vehicles, enabling you to quickly identify atypical events.
  • Body-worn cameras: providing peace of mind for front-line customer service staff and for security personnel which allows them to record footage when they are faced with challenging situations.

Halo Smart Sensor 3C

The Halo Smart Sensor 3C is the latest advanced vape detection and monitoring device launched by US manufacturer, IPVideo Corporation. This has been designed to help you deal with emergency incidents as well as providing health and air quality monitoring. Key features that will help you protect customers, audiences and spectators include:

  • Emergency Escape and Alert Lighting: LED coloured lighting options that can be programmed to show escape routes for safety such as a red, yellow, and green pattern. You can create unique colours for different alerts such as purple for Air Quality alerts or blue for Health alerts. The lights themselves are projected onto the ceiling around the HALO for extended visibility.
  • Motion Detection: Identify and alert on movement for occupancy and trespassing.
  • Panic Button: Users can trigger alerts via an external 3rd party panic button or via the HALO cloud app. The location of the trigger is associated to the HALO device in closest proximity.
  • Occupancy and People Counting: Identify how many people are within the HALO location and configure to alert on abnormalities. (Only available on HALO 3C-PC)
  • Monitoring Aggression: The HALO can learn to detect abnormal noise levels. Therefore, if a fight or an argument begins that could escalate it will pick it up giving security staff the opportunity to intervene so situations do not get out of control.
  • Calls for help: The HALO device also comes preloaded with five spoken keyword phrases related to emergencies/calls for help giving people added protection.

Access Control Solutions

Electronic Access Control allows you to have control of your premises whatever their size. We can offer scalable solutions from Paxton Access, Avigilon Unity or the cloud-based Avigilon Alta, formerly Openpath, which also offer central management of the system giving security and other staff more control. Features that can help you manage large events include:

  • Checkpoint Control: Paxton Net2 software allows you to control the flow of people through a building
  • Occupancy Management: Using Net2 you can restrict the numbers entering a particular area
  • Ability to limit public access to certain areas
  • Automatic locking of doors at particular times
  • Higher security for sensitive areas

Helping organisations in the south-west prepare for Martyn’s Law

We are committed to supporting organisations in south-west England prepare for the implementation of Martyn’s Law. Some of the steps needed may not be as onerous as some believe if organisations combine better staff training and communication with good use of the technology available.

As an established designer and installer of advanced security systems we would be delighted to talk through the options available to help you provide better protection for staff and customers within your venue. Please contact us to find out more.