Martyn’s Law (Protection of Premises Bill) Upcoming Legislation.
The 2023 King’s Speech included the UK Government’s proposed Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, commonly referred to as Martyn’s Law. This significant legislation marks a pivotal step in the UK’s counter-terrorism efforts, introducing specific obligations for buildings based on capacity: standard measures for those with over 100 capacity and enhanced measures for buildings with over 800 capacity. The Home Office estimates that around 650,000 businesses in the UK private sector could be affected.
In addition, key public sectors, including NHS facilities, local & central government buildings, and educational institutions, will be mandated to actively implement national security measures, demonstrating the government’s comprehensive approach to enhancing public safety.
Understanding Martyn’s Law
Martyn’s Law, named in honour of Manchester Arena attack victim Martyn Hett, is designed to strengthen security in public spaces to adopt comprehensive measures for public safety and anti-terrorism. These include developing anti-terrorism plans, training staff in terrorism protection, and implementing advanced communication systems like Audiebant, which can deliver targeted announcements in different zones simultaneously.
The Bill introduces a two-tier system for compliance:
Standard Duty: This tier impacts premises with over 100+ capacity to conduct. It mandates having terrorism risk assessments and developing detailed terrorism response plans.
Enhanced Duty: Applicable to larger entities with over an 800+ capacity and mandates more comprehensive responsibilities. These include extensive security planning and the appointment of a senior officer dedicated to terrorism response.
Enforcement and Compliance
The anticipated repercussions for not adhering to the law suggest significant penalties through a structured system of contravention and penalty notices.
For premises under the Standard tier, penalties could reach up to a £10,000 fine.
For those in the Enhanced tier, the penalties are expected to be more severe, potentially rising to a maximum of £18 million or 5% of global company turnover. Furthermore, non-compliance in this tier could be considered a criminal offence, potentially leading to a prison sentence.
The proposal also includes the establishment of an independent regulatory body with the authority to conduct inspections of approximately 5% of premises annually. The specifics regarding the identity of this regulator remain undefined in the current draft of the bill.
Audiebant’s Role in Compliance
With the emphasis on precise communication during critical incidents, Audiebant’s zoned communication systems become vital in the fight against terrorism. The Audiebant system enables any building to relay specific instructions in various scenarios, enhancing safety and clarity in crisis situations.
Preparing for the Future
As the current threat level remains substantial, the UK must embrace proactive security strategies. The inclusion of Martyn’s Law in the King’s Speech is a clear signal for educational institutions, NHS facilities, Local & Central Government buildings and Businesses to enhance their preparedness against potential critical incidents.