Legislation nicknamed Martyn’s law in memory of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing is to be introduced to ensure stronger protections against terrorism in public places.
Martyn Hett, 29, was one of 22 people killed in the attack at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017. His mother, Figen Murray, has campaigned for new measures.
The government said the UK-wide law would require venues and local authorities to draw up preventive action plans against terror attacks. Draft legislation will be published in the early spring.
The Home Office said: “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. Recent attacks demonstrate that terrorists may choose to target a broad range of locations. Martyn’s law will ensure that security preparedness is delivered consistently across the UK, ensuring better protection of the public.”
The plans have been developed after public consultation and engagement across industry, charities, local authorities, security experts and with survivors. Seventy per cent of people who responded to the consultation agreed that officials responsible for publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect the public from potential attacks.
Martyn’s law will follow a tiered model linked to activity that takes place at a location and its capacity, to prevent undue burden on businesses. A standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100, and an enhanced tier will focus on high-capacity locations in recognition of the potential consequences of an attack.
Murray said:“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.
“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 groundbreaking legislation.”
Rishi Sunak said:“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.
“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.”