Martyn’s Law / Protect Duty Services - Athena Security Solutions




Terrorism has become a growing national security threat that public venues are being placed under increased pressure to take extra measures against. With such attacks seeking to cause as much devastation as possible to human life and property, the government is now looking to institute legislation dubbed Martyn’s Law to ensure better safety for the British public in such settings.

This legislation is intended to ensure that there is better preparedness for and protection from terror attacks. It will compel organisations that own and operate public venues to undertake stronger security measures. It is expected to impact an estimated 650,000 UK businesses across multiple sectors, but proportionate to the size of the organisation.

What is Protect Duty or Martyn's Law?

Protect Duty also known as Martyn's Law is new legislation that seeks to create a consistent and proportionate process by which those who own or operate enterprises in public spaces can ensure the security of the members of the public. This legislation, which is expected to come into force in 2023, is designed to complement and fill the gaps in existing legislation.

It is named in honour of Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims that died during the Manchester Arena bombing. This 2017 incident was the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK since the 2005 London bombings and was later followed by the London Bridge attack in 2019 and the attempted Liverpool Women's Hospital bombing in 2021.

With the increased frequency and severity of the recent attacks, is acknowledged that the threat of a terrorist incident occurring in the UK persists, hence the need to enhance public safety through legislation like Protect Duty Services.

As per Martyn’s Law legislation, owners and operators of businesses in publicly accessible locations are required to:

  1. Engage with freely available counter terrorism advice and training
  2. Conduct vulnerability assessments of their operating places and spaces
  3. Mitigate the risks created by these vulnerabilities
  4. Put in place a counterterrorism plan
  5. Have local authorities plan for the threat of terrorism

How this will impact your business

Protect Duty Services is at present being targeted at three primary types of spaces. These are:

  • Public venues with a capacity of 100 persons or more, including entertainment and sports venues, tourist attractions and shopping centres.
  • Large organisations that employ 250 staff or more, including retail and entertainment chains in publicly accessible locations.
  • Public spaces such as beaches, public parks, thoroughfares, bridges, town/city squares and pedestrianised areas. Also includes event organisers that utilise these spaces.

Through this legislation, the government intends to require the owners and operators of such venues to:

  1. Consider and utilise information and guidance that is made available to them by the government and police as regards terrorist threats targeted at the public and staff at their venues.
  2. Assess the potential impact of these risks on their functions and estate, and through their systems and processes
  3. Consider and implement what ‘reasonably practicable’ protective security and organisational preparedness measures
  4. Develop a robust plan for dealing with terrorist attacks
  5. Have staff trained on awareness of terrorist threats and how to respond
  6. Regular updates to response plans based on the changing nature of attacks

How we can help

Organisations that own and operate public venues will need to step up their efforts in managing the risk of terror attacks and ensuring the safety of members of the public. Though the finer points to this legislation are yet to be nailed down and its implementation is not expected until 2023, the owners and operators of the targeted organisations will need to start acting now by conducting risk assessments and preparing emergency response plans as they await clarification on how Protect Duty legislation will apply to them.

This is where our team at Athena Security Solutions can be of help in offering guidance on how to carry out such risk assessments and facilitating other acts of preparedness including:

  • Conduct our bespoke Vulnerability Assessment inspection & report of your current building/venue & surrounding area 
  • Training staff on how to recognise and respond to potential threats
  • First aid resources
  • How to shelter in place and creating evacuation plans
  • Physical and procedural security measures to limit the freedom of movement of a potential attacker
  • Technology solutions that support the identification of potential threats, limit the opportunity for an attack and coordinate a response to the event

The range of measures undertaken to prepare for and manage the response to potential attacks may depend on the size of the organisation and exposure to risk. By partnering with us, organisations that are likely to be impacted by this incoming legislation can ensure there is sufficient management and mitigation of potential terror threats that meet the new legislative requirements.

We can help you to tailor security measures to the specific requirements and size of your business, ensuring that you are in the best position possible to protect your staff, customers and other members of the public, no matter the terror threat. Getting started today being 'Protect Duty' ready.