Following the horrific bombing of Manchester Arena in 2017 and the subsequent Manchester Arena Inquiry, the Government has committed to bring forward legislation to enact a legal duty on the operators of public spaces to make certain protective security arrangements. Formally known as the Protect Duty and also referred to as Martyn’s Law (in honour of Martyn Hett, who was tragically killed in the attack), the Home Office has today published details on the foundational policy elements of the Government’s upcoming Protect Duty Bill.

The written ministerial statement confirms that Martyn’s Law will require responsible parties to consider the terrorist threat and deliver a proportionate protective security response. This will be underpinned by a new inspection and civil enforcement regime. The legislation will create a tiered model like Health and Safety, with Standard and Enhanced requirements for lower and higher risk locations respectively. Standard requirements will focus on education and low-cost planning activities, whereas Enhanced requirements will call for formal risk assessments and security plans, as well as a testing regime.

It has been clarified that where there are multiple responsible parties at a location Martyn’s Law will designate a lead party and require the other parties to co-operate in developing assessments and plans. Additionally, it has been confirmed that where transport security regulations are already in place these locations will be exempt and that Places of Worship will receive bespoke treatment, with all sites placed in the Standard tier and some in the Enhanced tier. Regarding the enforcement of Martyn’s Law, it will be underpinned by a civil sanctions regime, although in the case of serious breaches limited criminal offences will be available. A maximum penalty of up to £18m or 5% of worldwide turnover will be set for Enhanced sites, whereas Standard sites will only face a maximum £10,000 penalty.

The draft legislation is due in early spring, and ADS will continue to monitor the progress and implications of the upcoming Protect Duty Bill closely. If you would like to find out more or discuss this in greater detail, please contact Nathan Mathiot at