By Laura Michelon, Marketing Manager, Resilience First

As the UK government looks to enhance public safety with Martyn’s Law planned to be passed in spring 2024, it’s important for businesses to start thinking about how this new bill will impact their operations. At a recent joint Resilience First and Pool Re webinar, our expert speakers discussed how businesses can get prepared. However, they also warned of pitfalls to avoid, such as scammers offering compliance consultation services, promising compliance before the law is even passed. So, how can businesses ensure that they are prepared for when the legislation is in place?

Robin Hibbert, Director, Company Operations, Heart of London Business Alliance commented:

“The introduction of Martyn's Law is likely to lead to an increased demand on security and facility and venue management services. As organisations seek to ensure compliance with the new regulations, security companies will need to comply with the new regulations and guidelines. This will certainly make changes to training and operational procedures as well as increase scrutiny from regulatory authorities.”

One of the recommendations of the inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 was the introduction of a ’protect duty’ on those responsible for publicly accessible venues and events to take steps to reduce the risk to the public from terrorist attacks.

Premises with capacity of 100 to 799 would be subject to a standard duty, intended to be relatively light touch and low cost to implement. Venues with capacity of 800 or more, and qualifying public events, would be subject to an enhanced duty, potentially entailing more onerous and costly requirements.

“Whilst the private sector has generally been willing to accept advice, difficulties have arisen when it is unclear where responsibility lies or where mitigation requires significant expenditure to address this issue. The bill would create a scheme under which publicly accessible venues and events would be required to take certain steps to reduce risk, such as terrorism protection, training, risk assessment and mitigation, and maintaining security plans,” said Clare Rogers, Senior Operations Manager (Services), National Security Inspectorate (NSI).

The Home Office estimates that there are over 270,000 locations within the standard tier and over 24,000 locations within the enhanced tier. This could have a significant impact on insurance.

Chris Medhurst-Cocksworth, Head of Pool Re Solutions, commented:

“The general level of understanding of terrorism is perhaps not as good as it could be. Companies who provide security and guarding capabilities are saying they are having to considerably increase their liability insurance. But that's probably just from a lack of understanding of what the threats are. I think we need to make sure that everyone who's involved has a better understanding of what terrorism in the UK is and how to mitigate it.”

The legislation has not yet gone through Parliament. However, businesses should begin thinking about their provisions and capabilities for training as well as revisions to their security plans. They should also turn to trusted official bodies for support and expert advice, or to seek latest updates, such as through ProtectUK, a platform run in partnership with the Home Office, Counter Terrorism Policing, NaCTSO and Pool Re (the government's arm's length re-insurance capability for terrorism insurance).