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City council implements ‘Martyn’s Law’ on security at public venues, calls on government to introduce legislation

Manchester City Council is to enshrine the principles of ‘Martyn’s Law’, which is intended to improve security at public venues, into its future regulations.

Martyn’s Law is named after Martyn Hett, who died in the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.

His mother, Figen Murray, has proposed a piece of legislation that seeks to create a coherent and proportionate approach to protective security.

It would apply to any place or space to which the public have access, the council said. “For small venues this may simply require an additional to their already mandated fire plan, for bigger more complex venues it will require a more holistic approach.”

Martyn’s Law consists of five requirements:

  • A requirement that spaces and places to which the public have access engage with freely available counter-terrorism advice and training. 
  • A requirement for those places to conduct vulnerability assessments of their operating places and spaces.
  • A requirement for those places to mitigate the risks created by the vulnerabilities.
  • A requirement for those places to have a counter-terrorism plan.
  • A requirement for local authorities to plan for the threat of terrorism.

The local authority has backed Figen Murray’s calls for legislation. It said that although there are currently no laws which require venues to adhere to the principles of Martyn’s Law, this did not mean it could not take action.

The council said it would:

  • review the way in which it licences venues in order to ensure high safety standards are in place across the city. “Initially this will have to be voluntary changes made by the owners of licensed premises. However, given the significance of the terror attack on Manchester, and the depth of feeling in the wake of the attack, we would hope that the practices which underlie Martyn’s Law would be taken up with enthusiasm";
  • develop a scheme of best practice amongst licensed venues;
  • explore the ways by which Martyn’s Law could be implemented at a local level;
  • revise the existing range of licensing conditions to incorporate specific counter-terrorism measures in order to improve safety. “An example would be ensuring venues had a counter-terrorism plan in place, alongside associated staff training.”

Cllr  Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The tireless work that has been carried out by Figen is a fitting tribute to not just the memory of her son Martyn, but to all of the other victims of the Manchester terror attack.

“We are proud to work with Figen to lead the way on bringing in an improved culture of safety in this country, but we need the Government to take action. Only they have the power to get Martyn’s Law onto the statute books and we hope it treats her campaign as a priority.

“We can never bring back those who were cruelly taken from us, but, by making small yet significant changes we may be able to prevent future loss of life. This is an aim that we can all rally around.”

Figen Murray said: “I am so pleased to see that Manchester City Council have embraced the principles of Martyn's Law and are setting a brilliant example by introducing some of its principles. It feels like a recognition and deep respect for the bereaved families and the hundreds of injured people. I am certain that Martyn's Law will save lives through the council applying simple common sense."

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