On 19 March, Resilience First held a dinner with Shaun Hipgrave, Director of Protect and Prepare, Homeland Security Group, UK Government Home Office, to discuss Martyn's Law. The event was kindly hosted by Controlled Events.

Creating a more protected environment

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill also known as Martyn’s Law, and formerly known as the Protect Duty, has cross-party support and was announced in the King’s Speech in November 2023 as part of the programme of legislation that the Government intends to pursue in the forthcoming Parliamentary session.

It was long campaigned for by Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett, who was tragically killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017, upon the realisation that more was needed to compel businesses to protect the public from the impact of terrorist attacks at events and venues.

Martyn’s Law will enhance public safety by requiring those responsible for certain premises and events to consider the terrorist risk and how they would respond to an attack. It will provide a framework for protection for the public against all threats by encouraging businesses, venues and the hospitality sector to better prepare their staff to respond to terrorists’ threats and attacks, by encouraging a more collaborative approach across organisations and infrastructure.  It will promote greater preparedness, similarly to how businesses protect their employees against risk of fire through regularly training and testing.

Its implementation will be groundbreaking and highly relevant especially in today’s increasingly turbulent, uncertain, novel and ambiguous (TUNA) world, where terrorist threats are becoming more sophisticated and wide-ranging, stemming from multiple rogue states, across different frontiers including cyber, creating varying levels of grey zones to contend with.

A bit about the details

Martyn’s Law will operate a two-tier system where venues welcoming 800+ guests (Enhanced Tier) will be expected to carry out certain levels of due diligence compared with those welcoming between 100 to 799 guests (Standard Tier), with requirements for compliance from large scale concert halls to community centres and village parish halls.  The latter is especially underlined by the fact that places of worship have become targets, as seen across the world.

Free training and information will be provided by government agencies including Protect UK, National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and National Protective Security Authority (NPSA).

The plans associated with Martyn’s Law will be mandated with Board level responsibility; and the risk response and mitigation plans will be inspected by a regulator who will understand the risk landscape and be able to evaluate the plans in place. 

What happens next?

Dedicated guidance and support will be provided for duty holders to ensure that those in scope have the required information on what to do and how best to do it. The guidance will be easy to follow, needing no particular expertise.

Businesses are being encouraged to review and enhance their security plans, ensuring they are intelligence-led.  They are also advised to stress test and exercise these plans regularly. After all, fire alarm tests are conducted on a weekly basis, yet plans for terrorist attacks are currently not tested as frequently.  We need to avoid complacency.


There’s currently a dynamic at play with venues wanting to do the right thing versus the role of the regulator in ensuring compliance.  Also, where does the duty of care start if a venue, for example, is welcoming an event or an organisation on site which may be a high-risk target, should the event organiser bear responsibility for compliance or should it be the venue provider?

Regardless of the above, there may be instances where the event organiser will invest in greater security measures simply to avoid any reputational risks to their business.

Enhanced benefits

Martyn’s Law will create a change culture for greater preparedness, and enhanced resilience and security at venues as well as improved collaboration between businesses, the police, other emergency services and local authorities, creating a blended policy response.

It will also contribute towards creating a greater professional security sector as well as ensure better loss prevention measures.

Martyn’s Law aims to overcome previous challenges around security boundary responsibilities, where in the past contention may have risen on where accountability started and ended when for example, managing crowds or long queues of people looking to access a venue who were on public spaces such as roads alongside the building. 

Going forward

Internationally, other institutions are looking at the UK and our leadership in this area.

Furthermore, businesses have commented on how the principle of the duty is already enhancing their security plans which are being introduced across their sites internationally.

Our members at the dinner commented on their appreciation of the Home Office and other security authorities, such as the NaCTSO and NPSA for their consultative approach in developing Martyn’s Law.