What is Protect Duty 2023?
At about 10.30 pm on 22 May 2017, an Islamic extremist named Salman Abedi entered the foyer of Manchester Arena, just after a concert by American singer Ariana Grande had ended, and blew himself up. 22 people died and 1,107 more were injured in what is the single deadliest act of terrorism to have taken place in the UK.
One of those to die at Manchester Arena that night was a man named Martyn Hett. Since the bombing, his mother has campaigned tirelessly for the laws surrounding the safety of people in venues and other public spaces to be tightened.
The result is Martyn’s Law, also known as Protect Duty, and officially named the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill. Protect Duty will place responsibility on such venues to be better prepared to deal with a potential terrorist attack or other serious incident, and plan for how to respond should one happen.
The introduction of Protect Duty is going to have a major impact on the way venues and many other businesses operate. But what kind of venues will this new law affect and what can they do to prepare for it?
In this article, we’re taking a close look at how Protect Duty might affect your business, what you’ll have to do to be compliant – and how Scutum London can help you get ready to meet your new responsibilities.
How does Protect Duty impact my business?
Protect Duty will apply to any premises or public spaces with a capacity of 100 or more people, with more stringent measures required for premises with a capacity of at least 800. The law is defining such places as “any place to which the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission”.
That includes not just entertainment venues such as Manchester Arena, but also theatres, cinemas, tourist attractions, hotels, clubs, retail centres, museums and galleries, government buildings and beaches. It will also include places of worship and educational establishments, although limited exemptions will apply there.
In fact, it is estimated that the new legislation is going to impact some 650,000 businesses in the UK.
For places with a capacity of 100 or more, the owner or operator will be required to undertake relatively straightforward tasks such as providing free staff training, raising awareness of the dangers of terrorism, cascading appropriate information to their staff and completing a plan for how they would respond to an incident.
Larger locations with a capacity of 800 or more will have to complete a detailed risk assessment and preparedness plan that will need to reach a standard known as ‘reasonably practicable’. The goal will be to achieve a sensible balance between risk reduction and the time, money and effort needed to do that.
The legislation will be enforced by an inspectorate that will operate and have powers that are similar to those wielded by the fire and rescue service in regard to fire safety measures in commercial premises.
When does Protect Duty come into force?
There is no date set for its introduction yet, but it is likely to be sometime in 2024. Once a date has been set, businesses will need plenty of notice to make the necessary preparations and ensure they are complying with its provisions.
The draft legislation was published in May 2023 and can be read online here.
How can I get prepared for the introduction of Protect Duty?
To be ready to meet the requirements of Protect Duty, it’s important that you start considering how you can better protect your premises and how you might respond in the event of an attack. A good starting point is reading and understanding this article on the government’s counter-terrorism website.
One of the key elements of the new legislation that larger businesses and organisations will quickly need to get to grips with is carrying out risk assessments and then formulating plans to deal with an incident.
You should already have risk assessments in place at your premises covering both fire safety (under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) and the health and safety of your employees (Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999).
A risk assessment with regards to security measures will be very similar in terms of scope and purpose, so it’s important to bear in mind that you are probably already experienced at carrying out many of your new measures and responsibilities. But, as with fire risk assessments, you’re likely to find that you need the assistance of professionals when it comes to understanding what’s required and then putting new security measures into place.
One of the best ways to prepare for the introduction of Protect Duty is to talk to a commercial security expert at Scutum London. We can help your business prepare for the introduction of Protect Duty, with solutions including software that can be built onto your existing security apparatus and be customised to the particular needs and threats associated with your particular premises and security threats. That will make it both effective and affordable.
Start getting ready for Protect Duty now – get in touch with Scutum London today.
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About Scutum London
Scutum London is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.
From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.
With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).
If you’d like to find out more about Scutum London, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.