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On the 2nd May the Home Office published a long await draft bill called the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) draft bill (often referred to as Martyn’s Law), the intention of which is to: “improve protective security and organisational preparedness at a wide range of public premises across the UK.”
It is important to stress at this stage that this is a draft Bill and best estimates are that Martyn’s Law will come into effect in or about 2026. The purpose of this article is to set out the current expectations of the draft bill as they give a clear indication of the direction of travel and what, if anything, you as an operator, should be doing in anticipation of the bill becoming law.
The intention is that the Bill will apply across the UK to all publicly accessible premises and venues. This will include pubs. The Bill sets out two capacity thresholds:
As things currently stand, premises with a capacity of under 100 will be exempt from the scope of the legislation.
However, this does not mean that premises falling under the threshold will not have to take steps to put a policy in place. For instance, should a condition be added to a premises licence to that effect.
People responsible for standard tier premises will be expected to carry out “low cost” measures to improve security which may include:
The government has published a standard Terrorism Evaluation Plan which can be found on the Home Office’s website. This takes the form of a ‘6 task plan’:
Task 1 - Plan to warn people on the premises that an attack is taking place
Task 2 - Plan to lockdown your premises
Task 3 - Plan to evacuate your premises
Task 4 - Plan to call the emergency services and relay the necessary information
Task 5 - Use available first aid and fire safety equipment
Task 6 - Consider how you can make your neighbours or local network aware of your plan and alert them of an attack.
Persons responsible for enhanced duty premises and qualifying events will be required to ensure that:
The current expectation is that each qualifying premise will have a designated responsible person, who will be the individual who has control of the premises, so possibly a manager, tenant or DPS. Enhanced tier premises will be required to nominate a designated senior officer who will have responsibility for co-ordinating and maintaining risk assessments. In due course the responsible person will be required to register the qualifying premises with the national regulator.
The national regulator will have a broad range of powers which will include access to and inspection of qualifying premises and the ability to issue contravention notices. The effect of the notice will be to impose a requirement to remedy the non-compliance – by complying with the specified relevant requirement - within a specified period. A person with responsibility for an enhanced tier premises may also be served with a restriction notice requiring the use of premises to be restricted or closed. Breaches of contravention and/or restriction notices carry the potential for significant fines. Offences under the act will carry with the possibility of imprisonment.
It is essential to remember that Martyn’s Law is a draft Bill and any documents published by the government or other organisations at this stage do not necessarily reflect what will be required when the law comes into force. Likewise, whilst it is good operating practice to consider whether you might need a plan in place now, whatever you put in place may need to be replaced when further information about the law is made public. Do not let anyone tell you they know what the final legislation or guidance will look like!
It is anticipated that if, and when, the Bill becomes an Act, there will be time for companies to engage and communicate requirements with stakeholders and national regulators before it commences. Estimates for full implementation are expected in 2026 or even 2027.
Read more from Pub & Bar's July 2023 issue: Pub & Bar - Magazine (pubandbar.com)
26 July 2023