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Anti-terror planning to be made compulsory for venues
In new government plans set out this week, UK venues will be legally required to plan for potential terrorist attacks, in order to better protect members of the public visiting their premises. This new legislation has been in the works for quite some time now, having been originally sparked by the devastating terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in which 22 people were killed.
Under the new ‘Protect Duty’, we could see UK venues start to introduce a range of new security measures according to their size and capacity, spanning from specialist staff training and communications campaigns, all the way up to more rigorous measures such as conducting bag searches or installing high-security automatic bollards. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the background of the new Protect Duty?
Set out by Priti Patel this week, the Protect Duty has been developed in response to years of activism from victim’s groups, including the families of many of those killed at the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. It’s been heavily influenced by the high-profile Martyn’s Law campaign, which was spearheaded by Figen Murray following the death of her son, Martyn Hett, at the concert. Last year, the government ran a public consultation which attracted thousands of responses, the majority of which believed that those responsible for publicly accessible locations should take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect the public from attacks.
As Ms Murray has said herself, the proposal isn’t seeking a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Instead, venues would be compelled to instigate security measures in accordance with their size, with stricter requirements to be levelled at larger venues with higher capacities. Half the respondents to the consultation were also in favour of an inspectorate that would identify key vulnerabilities, and areas for improvement. Until now, there has been no specific legislative requirement for venues to put these sorts of measures in place, but Ms Murray has publicly stated that she hopes the plans will be enacted into law as quickly as possible.
What does this mean for you?
If you run a public venue such as a performance space, museum, festival, pub, club, bar, casino, shopping centre, university, place of worship, or sports venue (to name just a few examples), it’s worth taking a moment to reassess your current security procedures to check for any potentially dangerous gaps or failings. It may be helpful to bring in some outside expertise, such as specialist security professionals. As we’ve touched on above, your obligations will vary depending on the exact size of your venue.
You can find out full details in the government’s response document, which draws many of its points from Martyn’s Law. Some of the key recommendations from the latter include requirements for:
• Spaces and places easily accessible by the public to engage with freely-available counter-terrorism advice and training
• Owners and organisers to conduct vulnerability assessments of their operating places and spaces. Similarly, local authorities will be compelled to collaborate with venue owners to mitigate ‘last-mile’ risks
• Venues to have a mitigation plan in place for the risks created by any vulnerabilities that cannot be immediately rectified
• Venues to have a counter-terrorism plan
• Local authorities to liaise with venues to help them develop and implement their plans, maximising their safety value to the public
Some of the more specific recommendations that are currently being floated include potential bag searches and metal detectors to be implemented at some of the biggest events. And with vehicle terrorist attacks on the rise in recent years, automatic bollards may be another measure worth considering.
That’s exactly where we can help here at Bollard Security. We’ve got a huge range of bollards for you to choose from, encompassing a range of bollard types suitable for boosting security in a wide range of settings and environments. And if you’re already considering installing a set of bollards, don’t forget to check out our post on how to properly choose the best ones. Alternatively, our experts are always happy to advise – just give us a call on 01756 363 196, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help!