A new law

On 24 February, the new Minister of State at the Home Office, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, announced plans to introduce a law which will require owners and operators of public spaces and venues to put in place measures to keep the public safe from a terrorist attack.

The new ‘Protect Duty’ would reflect lessons learned following the terrorist attacks in 2017 as well as more recent attacks. The proposals also follow discussions with victims’ groups such as the Martyn’s Law campaign.

The new law, to be consulted on in the Spring, would require venue operators to consider the risk of a terrorist attack and take proportionate and reasonable measures to prepare for and protect the public from such an attack. It could include appropriate physical security, having training in place, incident response plans and exercises for staff on what to do during an attack. The intention is neither to place a financial burden on small businesses nor to create ‘bollard Britain’. Rather, the intended measures will be ‘scalable, appropriate, and proportionate to the size of the organisation’ to which it applies.

Anticipating the direction of travel with this topic, and wishing to put the early case for greater constructive engagement and communication with the private sector, Resilience First convened a meeting on 6 February of interested parties to see what could be proposed in any consultation with the government. 

Offer of help

As a result, Resilience First wrote to the Minister with a summary of the views expressed and offering some ideas on the way forward. This included options around insurance incentives and accreditation standards. It extended to organising focus groups to determine the appetite of business for practical solutions that would help with any legislative proposal.

A reply was received on 23 March - see here. Following this, a conference call of interested business parties was held on 27 April and a follow-on action plan agreed. A further update will be provided in due course.