Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill
4 May 2023
The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill, also known as the ‘Protect Duty’ or ‘Martyn’s Law’, aims to keep people safe from terrorist attacks by introducing proportionate security requirements for certain public venues.
Purpose of the Bill
The UK Government has stated that “Martyn’s Law should seek to improve protective security and organisational preparedness at a wide range of public premises across the UK. Those responsible for certain public premises will be required to consider the threat from terrorism and implement reasonably practicable and proportionate mitigating measures. It will also establish an associated inspection and enforcement regime, which will seek to educate, advise, and ensure compliance with the requirements of the Bill.”
The Bill builds on the Government‘s Counter-Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST) which aims to “reduce the risk to the UK and its citizens and interests overseas from terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.”
Over 300,000 premises across the UK will fall within the scope of the Bill. As such, the legislation will apply to many private organisations and public bodies.
Key measures of the Bill
The Bill is centred around three main concepts – ‘responsible persons’, ‘qualifying public premises’ and ‘qualifying public events’. In summary, a responsible person will be required to undertake proportionate steps to improve protective security and preparedness of a qualifying public premise or a qualifying public event. Premises are included by reference to their use and both events and premises must have the minimum capacities specified (as set out below). However, the requirements will not extend to offices or private dwellings.
Qualifying public premises
Qualifying public premises are those which are:
- Primarily used for a use or uses specified in Schedule 1, such as shops, premises for the sale of food and drink leisure or entertainment activities, nightclubs, sports grounds, museums, hotels, places of worship, hospitals, railway stations, schools and public authorities).
- Accessible to the public (or a section thereof), including only in part.
- Have a public capacity of 100 or more individuals.
A tiered approach to premises
Qualifying premises are split into two tiers, namely:
- 100+ capacity (standard duty premises).
- 800+ capacity (enhanced duty premises).
Qualifying public events
The legislation will apply to locations with ‘qualifying public activities’. The event must satisfy the following conditions:
- It is to be held at premises which are not qualifying public premises.
- Those premises (or parts thereof) are accessible to the public, or a section of the public, for the purpose of attending the event.
- It has the public capacity of the premises is 800 or more people.
- For qualifying public premises, they will be the person who has control of the premises, as the occupier or otherwise, in connection with their relevant Schedule 1 use.
- For qualifying public events, they will be the person in control of the premises at which the event is to be held in connection with their use for that event.
Persons responsible for both standard and enhanced duty premises will have to:
- Facilitate appropriate training for staff that works on the premises.
- Undertake evaluations as to how to best respond in the event of a terror attack.
- Ensure that premises are registered with the regulator.
- Notify the regulator of any planned qualifying public events.
Persons responsible for enhanced duty premises will additionally be required to:
- Appoint a designated senior officer for the premises or event and provide their details to the regulator.
- Regularly assess and review terrorism risk.
- Implement reasonably practical measures to mitigate against the risk of harm as a result of a terrorist attack.
- Hold an up to date security plan which must be provided to the regulator.
In terms of enforcement, the regulator will have a number of civil and criminal sanctions available to it such as contravention notices, restriction notices and monetary penalties. With regard to the latter, for standard duty premises, the regulator will have the power to issue a fixed penalty up to a maximum of £10,000. For enhanced duty premises and qualifying public events, the regulator will be able to issue a maximum fixed penalty of the higher of £18 million or 5% of worldwide revenue. The regulator will also be able to give daily penalties.
The draft Bill was published and laid before the House of Commons on 2 May 2023. It will now face pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee before it is formally introduced to Parliament.