On 2 May 2023 the Government published the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) draft bill, otherwise known as Martyn’s Law and previously known as the Protect Duty. This will enact a new legal requirement on those responsible for publicly accessible locations to consider the terrorist threat and implement appropriate measures in response.

Proposals for a Protect Duty, now known as Martyn’s Law, were first put forward following the horrific terrorist attack on Manchester Arena and its subsequent Inquiry, which recommended legislation to improve the security of public venues. Notably, the UK Independent Review of Terrorism Legislation has argued that Martyn’s Law is ‘possibly the most impactful terrorism legislation ever proposed’.

The draft legislation and its accompanying impact assessment provides some additional clarity on the scope, format, and impact of Martyn’s Law. The draft legislation confirms that a Regulator will be established to deliver an inspection and enforcement regime and that enhanced tier premises and events will have to appoint a designed senior officer to regularly review the security of the venue and ensure that ‘reasonably practicable security measures are put in place’.

One important update is that Martyn’s Law will not be enshrined in law until 2025, which is predominantly in recognition of the cost pressures it will add (alongside the public safety benefits). It is hoped that by 2025 some of the inflationary pressures on business will have eased.

These publications reveal the potential cost implications of Martyn’s Law, with a central estimate of £2.7bn. Sitting below this, the impact assessment finds that the set-up cost of counter terrorism-related training is centrally estimated at £98.8m for the standard tier and £12.6m for the enhanced tier. As per the policy update in December 2022, the standard tier are premises with a capacity of 100 to 799 whereas enhanced tier premises or events have a capacity of 800 or over (with some exemptions and qualifications for each tier).

The UK security and resilience industry will have a critical role to play in developing and delivering advanced security measures for a wide range of premises and events, many of which may not have previously had such capabilities in place, to meet the requirements set out in Martyn’s Law. It is assessed that there are capability gaps relating to Hostile Vehicle Mitigation, Search and Screen Measures, and Panic buttons, and that overall, the costs for putting in place such types of measures will cost £267m in the first year alone (as a central estimate).

Finally, the Government has acknowledged the Regulatory Policy Committee’s assessment that there is a lack of understanding still about the potential impact on Small and Micro Businesses and that there is further work to do to ensure that the measures that will apply to them are ‘robust yet proportionate’. Through ADS’s Physical Security and Resilience Special Interest Group we will be therefore working closely with the Home Office and the new Regulator to help small UK businesses enhance their security measures in an affordable and effective way.