Martyn's Law: Consultation into anti-terror legislation launched

Martyn Hett
Martyn's Law is named after Martyn Hett, who was among 22 people killed in the Manchester attack

A formal consultation has been launched into proposals for new legislation to ensure stronger protection against terrorism in public places.

Known as Martyn's Law, it is named after Martyn Hett, one of 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester attack.

The Home Office said the bill would require venues to take enhanced steps to help keep the public safe.

It said it was seeking views to make sure the new requirements do not place "undue burdens" on smaller businesses.

Mr Hett's mother Figen Murray, who has campaigned for the changes, said Martyn's Law was all about "making our communities safer" and urged everyone with an interest to respond to the consultation.

Under the proposals, premises with a capacity of between 100 and 799 would be considered "standard tier" while those with more than 800 will be classed as an "enhanced tier" - with different requirements for each.

The consultation on the updated approach to standard tier is seeking views to make sure the new requirements do not place "undue burdens" on smaller businesses, while still protecting the public.

Figen Murray
The mother of Martyn Hett, Figen Murray, has campaigned for Martyn's Law

The move comes after MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee in May criticised an earlier draft of the legislation, saying it would burden small businesses and not prevent attacks.

The Home Office said it was particularly seeking views from those responsible for smaller premises, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said: "Martyn's Law will help protect the British public from terrorism and make sure public premises are better prepared in the event of a terror attack."

He said he "wanted to make sure our proposals are balanced and proportionate".

'Crucial changes'

"That's why our updated approach is easy to implement, and better tailored to individual businesses," he said.

He encouraged smaller premises to give feedback on "these crucial changes".

Ms Murray, who was appointed an OBE for her work in counterterrorism, said: "This consultation should be the final stage before Martyn's Law is introduced to Parliament.

"I urge everyone with an interest to respond.

"Martyn's Law is all about making our communities safer and my hope is that the bill can now be tabled before the anniversary of the attack that killed Martyn on 22 May."

She said: "It's time to get this done."

The updated requirements for smaller businesses, set out in the consultation, remove the requirement to complete specific terrorism training.

Instead, those responsible for these premises would be asked to put in place procedures such as evacuation and lock-ins in the event of an attack.

The Home Office said a Martyn's Law regulator would monitor compliance and advise premises within scope of the legislation.

The government said its revised approach was designed to be "low-to-no financial cost", with associated costs largely driven by the time taken to communicate them to staff.

The consultation will close on 18 March.

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