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Victory for Martyn’s law: All major UK venues must prepare for terror attacks
February 20, 2021
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The decision by the government to press ahead with “Martyn’s Law” is a victory for Figen Murray whose son Martyn was one of 22 victims killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist atrocity in 2017. In the forward to a report advocating Martyn’s Law following the bombing, Ms Murray said: “Martyn’s Law doesn’t advocate a one size fits all approach, it’s all about having a plan relevant to the threat. It seems absurd to me that we have legislation that sets out how many toilets a venue must have and how food must be prepared, but nothing that holds those same venues responsible for having basic security in place.”
In response the Conservatives made a manifesto pledge that they would bring in the new law and a source close to Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed that the consultation on the legislation will begin next week.
The Home Office source said: “We have already increased our powers to better deal with possible terror threats, and this new duty will go further. More organisations will be responsible for putting public safety and national security first to help avoid tragic loss of life.”
It is understood the government will this week set out its proposals on a new Protect Duty; a legal requirement for publicly accessible locations to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks.
The Protect Duty is aimed at improving the safety and security of public venues and spaces, drawing on lessons learned from recent terrorist incidents.
The proposals have been championed by victims’ groups, including the Martyn’s Law campaign which was established by Ms Murray.
Whilst subject to consultation, the intention is that the Duty would apply to specified owners and operators of public venues, large organisations and those responsible for public spaces.
The consultation will be for an extended period to take into account pressures arising from the pandemic.
It would require those in scope to consider terrorist threats and consider and implement appropriate and proportionate protective security and organisational preparedness measures.
Martyn was 29 when he killed in the attack in Manchester after an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 by Islamist suicide bomber Salman Abedi whose brother Hasham was later convicted of aiding him in the attack.
As well as the 23 deaths, including Abedi, more than 800 were wounded with victims including children.
Since her son’s death, Ms Murray, 59, a former therapist who is now doing a Masters degree in counter terrorism, has campaigned tirelessly for better security at venues as well as campaigning against people spreading hate.
In one interview she described how she had melted a piece of shrapnel taken from her son’s body into a teddy bear as a way of rejecting terrorism.