One of the UK’s leading crowd security and safety specialists and a former counter terrorism police officer and expert advisor to the National Police Chief’s Council has publicly backed the proposed draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill known as “Martyn’s Law” and says that the government Home Affairs Select Committee is “naïve and out of touch” to the risks of terrorist threats as it is proposes to scale back some parts of the legislation.
Martyn’s Law is named in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was killed at the age of 29 alongside 21 other people in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. His mother, Figen Murray, has since dedicated her life to helping stop terrorist attacks in the future – work for which she received an OBE last year.
Understanding risk as regards live events is arguably the most difficult part of quoting for many insurance brands. The history of the venue itself, building certificate and compliance checks, SIA checks, experienced stage management and crews etc are relatively easy to navigate in terms of risk. But terror threats, or disruptive protests are a more fluid, unpredictable factor, which might not be apparent when an event is first covered perhaps a year or more in advance of its staging.
The Home Affairs Select Committee has called on the government to reduce the proposed safety measures and base these on risk, as opposed to the size of a venue. It believes that such measures in the current draft of the bill would “place a significant and disproportionate burden on smaller venues, while failing to ensure adequate safety measures at all public events at risk of terror attacks”.
TECH CAN HELP SPOT POTENTIAL THREATS
Lloyd Major, CEO of Halo Solutions, – whose crowd management security and safety technology, Halo (v5), is used at some of the biggest music, entertainment and sporting events in the world – said:
“Figen Murray is absolutely correct in her assessment of the Martyn’s Law legislation and that the government must proceed with strong and robust legislation. Any weakening or reduction of the proposed measures in the draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill, also known as “Martyn’s Law’, would potentially put the public at even greater risk of another terror attack, as terrorists would merely switch their tactics to focus on softer targets without such counter terrorism measures in place.
“Protecting the public from terror attacks has to be more of a priority. It is vital that all public venues and premises have counter terrorism measures and training in place to protect staff and members of the public against the threat of an attack. Any weakening of the proposed measures in the draft bill would be counterproductive to the very foundation of Martyn’s Law. Time and time again we hear the words ‘lessons will be learned’ and the reality is that lessons are rarely ever learned, and the same tragic mistakes are repeated.”
“Terrorism does not discriminate against a small pub or a large stadium venue. We have witnessed a dynamic range of attacks from the Soho pub bombings to the London Borough Market, Manchester Arena attacks and many more. It is our collective responsibility to all be more vigilant, prepared and aware of terrorism after the tragic impact of all these attacks. All business owners, live music venues, bars, pubs and restaurants need to work together collectively to protect the public and their staff against terrorism. We do it for Health and Safety, this is no different and certainly no more onerous or costly.”
NEW REGULATIONS IN THE PIPELINE?
Martyn’s Law will require both public and private-sector businesses to ensure they have sufficient and robust security measures in place to uphold the “protect duty” and elevate public safety. This means that thousands of pubs, restaurants, live music venues, arenas, stadiums, shopping centres and entertainment complexes will be required to take much greater responsibility to protect and safeguard the public against a possible terrorist attack.
Following the conclusion of the £32m Manchester Arena bombing inquiry, many of the 22 families whose loved ones were either killed or over 800 seriously injured (many hundreds more with mental injuries) slammed the report’s findings and “excuses”, and called upon the police and the government to act to ensure lessons would be learned.
In response to the inquiry findings, Halo Solutions – which is already protecting the public across multiple sectors, including major sporting and entertainment events, transport, universities and other settings with its Halo (v5) software – decided to make its technology available for free to small businesses, pubs, live music venues and entertainment spaces where public capacity does not exceed 800 people, as per the legislation, in an effort to help them address the anticipated measures that are expected to come into force.
The company, whose motto is “Let’s protect everyone”, has also added further enhancements and features to its award-winning crowd and event safety software with the addition of live stream drone & video technology to help monitor crowd safety and security, and protect against criminal and activist-protestor activity.
The latest enhancement to Halo (v5) includes an upgraded public reporting feature, which allows the public at a venue to upload pictures, video or text about suspicious individuals’ behaviour, items left unattended or a range of concerns. It also includes a function to report individuals for racist or homophobic chants.