Martyn’s Law – complacency is a killer

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On 22nd May 2017, an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena was attacked with an explosive device, killing 22 people. One of the victims was Martyn Hett, 29, son of Figen Murray who spoke today at International Confex about her mission to introduce Martyn’s Law to venues.

Joined by former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent, Nick Aldworth, Figen explained the five main principles of Martyn’s Law:

  • For public venues and spaces to have access to free counter-terrorism advice and training.
  • To allow these venues to assess the vulnerability of their operating places and spaces.
  • A requirement for these venues to mitigate the risks created by these vulnerabilities.
  • To require these venues to have a counter-terrorism plan.
  • To require local authorities to plan for the threat of terrorism.

She continued to explain that Maryn’s Law is not a one-size-fits-all. No venue has the same size, location or features; therefore, the law needs to be proportionate to each venue.

Speaking from his own experience in the Metropolitan Police, Nick said that threats to the public have shifted in recent years and venues need to do more to mitigate them. Explaining that anything can be used as a weapon, Nick stated: “Anyone can be a terrorist now. This isn’t going to change so we need to do more to prepare for it.”

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Martyn’s Law is not just to protect against terrorism

Agreeing that complacency is a killer, Figen and Nick stated that venues and clients should drop the idea that terrorism or acts of high violence will never happen to them. The principle of Martyn’s Law is that venues should upscale their security with it costing as little as possible. Additionally, it will assist in all areas of violence that may occur at venues, such as fighting or drug gangs, not just terrorist acts.

“It could be as simple as raising awareness,” Figen said, stating that if venues and workers were more aware of the risks and how to proceed if a crisis does occur, it could be the difference between life and death.

The pair are confident that the right procedures are in place have Martyn’s Law passed and agreed that the government is taking Martyn’s Law seriously.

Recently approved for government backing, Martyn’s Law would introduce airport-style security checks to venues to prevent catastrophes like the Manchester bombing from being repeated. Manchester City Council has already pledged to adopt Martyn’s Law through new licensing rules.

To end the session, Figen stated: “Don’t ever assume at any venue that security is a given. You take your own life into your hands when you attend these places.”

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