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Martyn's Law – The Future of Event Security and Counter-Terrorism

Martyn's Law – The Future of Event Security and Counter-Terrorism
16 July 2021
 

Following the changes to public space counter-terrorism legislation, Service Excellence Director at Expeditious Services, Jason Pope, explains what the new "Protect Duty" means, and how it’ll impact event security.

Jason Pope has worked for Expeditious Services for over 6 years, as Group Operations Director, and has now been Service Excellence Director for the last three years. Pope’s background encompasses a six-year employment in the British Army, leading to beginning work in the security industry in 2008. Throughout his career, Pope has held roles such as Security Contracts Manager and National Account Manager.  At Expeditious Services, he is responsible for the success of UK operational delivery and building solid relationships with clients for high achieving results.

 

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Picture: a photograph of Jason Pope, Service Excellence Director at Expeditious Services.

 

Counter-Terrorism Protection

 

Event security and public space "Counter-Terrorism" protection is set to change with the introduction of Martyn’s Law aka "Protect Duty".

This change in tougher legislation follows the publication of the first Manchester Arena bombing independent public inquiry report. The Chairman’s report, published in June 2021, solely examines the security arrangements on the evening of the Ariana Grande concert in May 2017, leading to the death of 22 people, hospitalising 111, and injuring many others.

The Manchester Arena Inquiry chairman’s report found “serious shortcomings in the security” on the night of the devastating terror attack. Additionally, it cited there were several failings by the very people who were paid to protect the venue and its people, as well as by the companies they worked for (SMG, Showsec, and British Transport Police).

The failings fell into six clear areas of negligence and key missed opportunities to save lives:

 

  1. Suspect and their hiding spot never uncovered, despite several trips to the spot wearing suspicious apparel.
  2. Suspect hid in a CCTV blind spot, which posed a “different but connected missed opportunity”.
  3. Failed patrol of the City Room, as contracted to be conducted by the security team.
  4. Security team ignored reports of suspicious activity from a concerned member of the public.
  5. A member of security personnel and a steward had visibility on the suspect and took in inadequate action to raise the alarm.
  6. British Transport Police did not have a presence in the foyer, as contracted to.

 

The report finds a culmination of all six failings led to the suspect not being detected, deterred or other significant action being taken to prevent or minimise the impact of the bomb. If standards and protocols had been followed correctly, it is expected the number of casualties and injuries would have been reduced.

 

What is Martyn’s Law?

 

Martyn’s Law (also known as Protect Duty) is the new legislation elevating security standards to protect public spaces from terror threats.

Whilst there are existing pieces of legislation that apply to public spaces, there is nothing solely aimed at CT protection, or the necessary preparations for public spaces. Martyn’s law is an all-encompassing piece of legislation, proposing five key requirements for public spaces:

 

  1. A requirement that spaces and places to which the public have access engage with freely available counterterrorism advice and training.
  2. A requirement for those places to conduct vulnerability assessments of their operating places and spaces.
  3. A requirement for those places to have a mitigation plan for the risks created by the vulnerabilities.
  4. A requirement for those places to have a counter-terrorism plan.
  5. A requirement for local authorities to plan for the threat of terrorism.

 

When is Martyn’s Law Coming Into Effect?

 

The proposals for the new Protect Duty were outlined on 26 February. Following this outline of the Duty, there has been an 18-week consultation period, taking until 2 July before the next steps were confirmed.  This consultation’s aims to identify:

  • Who the Duty should apply to.
  • What it will require stakeholders to do.
  • How compliance should work.
  • How the Government can support the venues this duty applies to.

Already, we have seen the importance of the new Protect Duty being needed. On 11 July at the Final of the Euro 2020 football championships, there were significant failings in the security staff and stewards on the day, leading to non-ticket holders breaching barriers and accessing Wembley Stadium. This was a globally watched event, with members of the royal family among spectators at the venue. If Protect Duty had been actioned and legislation in place, the damage, violence, and threats posed by this breach may have been prevented.

 

Supporting Clients with Counter-Terrorism Planning?

 

“Run, tell, hide” was the previous guidance for firearms and weapons attacks, by National Police Chief’s Council. The new legislation is proposing this is to be replaced with “guide, shelter, communicate”, as laid out in part 4 of the new legislation.

At Expeditious Services, we believe communicating is a critical part in keeping the public spaces, surrounding areas and locals safe. And for the information communicated to be verified, fact checked and distributed via a trusted source, preventing the spreading conspiracy or presumption; a very real risk in the modern age.

Our community safety and support app, INTEX247 provides exactly this level of communication. It has been created with communities in mind, to support businesses and their day-to-day continuity by empowering them with information of potential disruptions and safety threats in their area.

Any user of the app can submit a report of a safety concern, risk, or threat to other people within your local radius. All reports are checked and verified by our in-house security team before being published on a newsfeed for all other users of the app to be notified. This protective barrier to report distribution prevents duplicated and false information or hoaxes being shared. The app also works closely with government organisations, police forces and other protective services, who also distribute their own news through our service. This means all users are kept fully informed of what is happening in their area, with the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Picture: a photograph of three people gathered around a computer

Article written by Jason Pope | Published 16 July 2021

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