Government consulting on Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

Martyn's Law places duties on venues to be prepared for terrorist attacks

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The government has launched its public consultation to finalise details of the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, known as Martyn’s Law, on the duties of those responsible for smaller premises.

The legislation aims to “improve the safety and security of public venues” and keep the British public safe from terrorism. The law introduces two tiers of venues, primarily based on their size. It is proposed that venues with a capacity of 100 to 799, such as shops, hospitality venues, healthcare settings and visitor attractions, would be classed as standard tier where responsible persons will be required to undertake simple yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness. Places of worship, schools and colleges will be classed as standard tier whatever their capacity.

An enhanced tier of responsibility applies to premises, such as large retail parks and event venues with a capacity of 800 or more individuals. Additional requirements would be placed on these high-capacity venues in recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of a successful attack.

The government is now seeking views on its revised proposals, particularly from people responsible for smaller premises which would fall within the standard tier. After the draft Bill was published last May concerns were expressed, including by MPs on the Home Affairs select committee following an inquiry into the legislation, that the duties for those running smaller venues could be burdensome.

Therefore, the government stated that last year, when the Bill was announced in the King’s Speech, that it would consult “to ensure we strike the right balance between enhancing public safety and not overburdening organisations ensure the standard tier duties are proportional.”

In order to reduce the burden on those managing smaller venues, which includes village halls run by volunteers, the consultation document has removed a requirement for specific protection training and to complete a standard terrorism evaluation. The focus is now on those running events to reduce harm to the public and staff at the premises in the event of a terrorist attack, in a similar way as they prepare for a fire. This includes considering procedures for evacuation, being able to lockdown the building and knowing how they will alert staff and the public when an incident happens.

Preparing for emergency incidents, including terrorist attacks

The development of a duty on venues to be prepared for terrorist attacks is known as Martyn’s law after a campaign by Figen Murray to commemorate her son Martyn Hett. Martyn was one of 22 people murdered in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

The public inquiry into the Manchester Arena terrorist attack identified security staff and police failings in identifying the bomber, Salman Abedi, as acting suspiciously despite members of the public raising concerns. This, it was suggested, could have been prevented through better staff training and briefings reminding staff of the terrorist threat level. In 2022 the government launched an online hub, ProtectUK, aimed at businesses, but available for all, providing counter terrorism and security advice to support organisations to educate staff and be better informed.

We believe smart use of technology to support staff to deal with any kind of emergency whether it is a terrorist event, an incident related to overcrowding or a fire, can help. Although the legislation is still being finalised, we believe we can help those managing premises that will be affected, to take action, which could save lives and protect the public, before the Bill becomes law.

Latest Avigilon solutions can support venue staff

Keeping spectators safe in crowds of thousands isn’t easy, but is vital if there is a threat from terrorism. Avigilon CCTV solutions deliver exceptional image detail and powerful system control to help ensure the safety of the audience or sports fans as well as the ability to quickly respond to incidents.  The recently-launched version of its video management software, Avigilon Unity 8, and its latest cameras, the Avigilon H6A and H6X ranges include AdaptAI video analytics which provide greater situational awareness than ever before so you can make informed decisions in the moments that matter.  Key beneficial features of the latest Avigilon solution:

  • Be alerted of unusual crowds: Receive real-time alerts of unusual crowds or when the number of people exceeds the threshold for crowd size.
  • Audio Analytics: Be notified of auditory disturbances such as gunshots, breaking glass, and alarms.
  • Avigilon Appearance Search: Locate a person or vehicle by entering a physical description, uploading a photo or finding an example in recorded video. AdaptAI has increased the number of different vehicle types that can be classified.
  • Facial Recognition: Accelerate response times by quickly identifying people of interest on a secure watch list or multiple lists.
  • Unusual Activity Detection: This continuously learns what typical activity in a scene looks like and then detects and flags unusual speed and location of people and vehicles, enabling you to quickly identify atypical events.

Meanwhile we can also offer body-worn cameras that provide peace of mind for front-line customer service staff and for security personnel which allows them to record footage when they are faced with challenging situations.

Additionally, we have developed a lockdown solution using Avigilon technology, which we have installed within Holy Trinity School in Birmingham and that could be used for a range of venues.

Halo Smart Sensor 3C: Added features to help you in an emergency

The Halo Smart Sensor 3C is the latest advanced vape detection and monitoring device launched by US manufacturer, IPVideo Corporation. This has been designed to help you deal with emergency incidents, including acts of terrorism, as well as providing health and air quality monitoring. Key features that will help you protect customers, audiences and spectators include:

  • Emergency Escape and Alert Lighting: LED coloured lighting options that can be programmed to show escape routes for safety such as a red, yellow, and green pattern. The lights are projected onto the ceiling around the HALO for extended visibility.
  • Motion Detection: Identify and alert on movement for occupancy and trespassing.
  • Panic Button: Users can trigger alerts via an external 3rd party panic button or via the HALO cloud app. The location of the trigger is associated to the HALO device in closest proximity.
  • Monitoring Aggression: The HALO can learn to detect abnormal noise levels. Therefore, if a fight or an argument security can be alerted and intervene if necessary.
  • Calls for help: The HALO device also comes preloaded with five spoken keyword phrases related to emergencies/calls for help giving people added protection.

Access Control Solutions: Occupancy Management could help

Electronic Access Control allows you to have control of your premises whatever their size. We can offer scalable solutions from Paxton Access, Avigilon Unity or the cloud-based Avigilon Alta, which also offer central management of the system giving security and other staff more control. Features that can help you manage large events include:

  • Checkpoint Control: Paxton Net2 software allows you to control the flow of people through a building
  • Occupancy Management: Using Net2 you can restrict the numbers entering a particular area
  • Ability to limit public access to certain areas
  • Automatic locking of doors at particular times
  • Higher security for sensitive areas

Helping you prepare for Martyn’s Law

We are committed to supporting organisations prepare for the implementation of Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill or Martyn’s Law. With the revisions proposed in the consultation organisations may not feel the requirements are as onerous as originally drafted and using advanced technology should help.

As an established designer and installer of advanced security systems we would be delighted to talk through the options available to help you provide better protection for staff and customers within your venue. Please contact us to find out more.