On 27th May 2017, 22 people were murdered and hundreds injured at a music event in the Manchester Arena. A public inquiry, established two years later to investigate the deaths and report its findings, concluded that a new statutory duty be designed to ensure the protection of people in publicly accessible locations.

Protect Duty, often referred to as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute to one of the victims, 29-year-old Martyn Hett, demands those responsible for publicly accessible locations consider and, where required, implement security measures to protect the public.

New legislation comes to Parliament

The draft legislation to mandate the Protect Duty – the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill – has now been presented to Parliament and is on the path to becoming law. Once passed, new powers will be given to regulators to inspect and enforce legislative breaches in ‘standard duty premises’ (public capacity above 100 persons) and ‘enhanced duty premises’ (public capacity above 800 persons).

Venues affected include shops, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment venues, sports grounds, recreation venues, libraries, museums, galleries, exhibition halls, visitor attractions, hotels and serviced accommodation, places of worship, hospitals and health facilities, rail and bus stations, airports, education and childcare establishments.

In the UK, there are a hundred thousand locations that will fall into the enhanced public premises category. For some, compliance with government guidance will be relatively straightforward. But, for others, expert support will be required.

Responsibility for implementation

Those responsible for qualifying premises and events must ensure terrorism evaluation has been conducted and reviewed on an annual basis in line with the new legislation. A senior officer must be assigned to coordinate the risk assessment, prepare and maintain a security plan, and follow any instructions provided by the regulator. Reviews of qualifying events must be completed at least three months before the event or as soon as practicable after details of the event are made public. Terrorism protection training must also be provided to one or more relevant workers.

Consequences for non-compliance

If a regulator believes the necessary steps have not been taken to ensure public protection, they have the power to issue restriction notices, or impose fixed penalty notices to a maximum of £10,000 for standard duty premises and up to £18 million/five percent of worldwide turnover for enhanced public premises or qualifying public event. Those responsible for enhanced public premises or qualifying public events – directors, partners, corporate bodies, etc. – that fail to comply with a contravention notice or restriction notice could also face up to two years in prison.

What this means for hotels

For hotels and serviced accommodation – particularly those that hold large events – Protect Duty provides new legislation for venues to comply with. Hotel and events managers will need to understand the consequences of the legislation in detail and – for hotels in particular – how it applies to events such as weddings, conferences and other gatherings.

Want to know more?

We can help you understand more about your responsibilities under Protect Duty and provide additional information and support to help you remain compliant with the new legislation. Our trained staff will include the legislation requirements in future assessment and training programmes to ensure property owners meet their new obligations around safety, security and travel risk.

Contact our team today to find out how to get started.