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GOVERNMENT PURSUES COUNTER TERROR LEGISLATION A s lockdown starts to ease, the government is keen to ensure the public is kept safe from terror attacks at entertainment events and venues. A consultation process is now underway which is designed to determine new antiterrorism legislation. This comes in the wake of the horrific bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017. In one of the worst acts of terrorism in the UK an Islamic terrorist detonated a home-made bomb at the Manchester Arena killing more than 20 people and injuring a further 137, many of them children. Legislation to address these issues stalled because of Covid-19.

MARTYN’S LAW One of those who died in the blast was Martyn Hett. Since that day his mother, Figen Murray has campaigned tirelessly for ‘Martyn’s Law’ to force venues and public spaces to improve counter-terror security measures. Murray told the public enquiry into the bombing that new legislation should be delayed no longer and said: “My focus will always be to stop such violent acts from happening again because Martyn and the other 21 victims cannot have lost their lives for nothing.”



The government’s so-called Protect Duty legislation will build on ‘Martyn’s Law’ and would apply to large public venues, retail and entertainment chains and public spaces. Currently, it is not compulsory for a venue or site owners to give staff antiterrorism training and there is no obligation on their part to engage with advice on terror threats or on how to mitigate risk. Security Minister James Brokenshire said the consultation ‘considers how we can work together to develop proportionate security measures to improve public security. It also considers how those responsible for publicly accessible locations are ready and prepared to take appropriate action, were a terrorist attack to happen’.

PROTECT DUTY Protect Duty will likely require staff to under-go mandatory counter-terrorism advice and terrorism response training. This would then form part of the induction process for any new employees. It’s also been suggested that a venue should have a specially trained crisis manager on duty at all times when the premises are open. Free training is already available on the government ACT website. The government

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