The Protect Duty and the Impact on Public Venues
Security consultancy Lodge Service is advising the operators of public venues and spaces on the implications of proposed anti-terrorism legislation, scheduled for publication in spring 2023. Known as Martyn’s Law or the Protect Duty, it will mandate tougher security measures to protect against terrorist attacks.
The Home Office said: “The new duty will require venues to take steps to improve public safety, with measures dependent on the size of the venue and the activity taking place. Recent attacks demonstrate that terrorists may choose to target a broad range of locations. Martyn’s law will ensure that security preparedness is delivered consistently across the UK, ensuring better protection of the public.”
The campaign to have Protect Duty become law is led by survivors and bereaved families following the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. The plans have been developed after public consultation and engagement, with 70 percent of people who responded to the consultation agreeing that officials responsible for publicly accessible locations should take measures to protect the public from potential attacks.
“The new law will affect venues with a capacity of more than 100 people or which employ more than 250 people, even if working across multiple sites. Also, any outdoor or public spaces where people may congregate, such as parks and squares. We await details on the timing for legislation, but venue owners and operators need to start preparing now, as the training and security measures required will take some time to implement,” says Judy Atkinson, Group Sales Director at Lodge Service
Out of an estimated 650,000 crowded places in the UK, only 0.2% are currently prioritised to receive direct support from the Government’s network of counter-terrorism experts. Lodge Service is advising other operators of venues and spaces in their review of counter-terrorism measures.
Venues and local authorities need to have clear response plans, says Lodge Service, including efficient ways to guide people safely within a location in the event of a security alert, communicate with visitors and the emergency services, ensure staff know how to enact appropriate steps, and make provision to shelter people where necessary.
Lodge Service provides security reviews and training for in-house teams in the five key security elements in the Protect Duty recommendations. These are to:
- Ensure that at least 25 per cent of staff receive counter-terrorism awareness training.
- Conduct vulnerability assessments of operating locations.
- Put anti-terrorism preparations in place.
- Create mitigation strategies and proportionate security measures.
- Ensure the thoroughness of any training and physical security checks.
Counter-Terrorism Awareness Training
As terrorism continues to be a concern, even before the Protect Duty becomes law, businesses should consider how they can improve security protection for their premises. Employers are advised to have at least 25 per cent of their staff take counter-terrorism awareness training.
An employer should ensure that all staff are aware of the signs of suspicious behaviour so they can report it to the police if necessary. They should have policies in place for dealing with bomb threats and other emergencies, such as fire drills, as well as evacuation procedures for different parts of a building.
Measures include accessing national and local information on any known threats and using the public and private news channels that are available, including the Cross-Sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) newsfeed.
Vulnerability Assessments of Operating Spaces
Venue operators should conduct periodic risk assessments for each building or facility. This is to evaluate the risks, vulnerabilities and consequences of different types of incidents that could occur in each space.
The goal is to identify what managers need to do to reduce security risks and enhance security performance, highlight gaps in current provisions and take corrective action where necessary.
The factors that should be considered in a vulnerability assessment include:
- physical environments – such as access control measures and natural features
- human resources – employees, contractors and other visitors
- information technology systems – operational and security specific
These should include emergency procedures for dealing with an attack, such as evacuating premises or locking down buildings, with training and rehearsals for staff to ensure they know what to do should an incident occur.
The plan must ensure the safety of all employees and visitors. This can be regularly reviewed so that any changes or improvements are made as necessary. The plan should include detailed instructions on how to deal with potential terrorist attacks, however they occur, including from within the organisation itself.
Procedures cover how each member of staff should respond to an incident if it happens on-site, to consider what their role will be, who must be alerted and where responsibilities lie for implementing the plan.
Mitigation Plans and Proportionate Security Measures
A key task is to identify the different types of risk from terrorism at the premises, including how likely any incident is to occur and how severe it would be if it did take place.
The goal is to consider what the organisation can do to reduce or eliminate those risks, such as by changing processes, training staff, or installing new security and safety equipment. Then to develop a plan to deal with each type of risk identified, including who should be responsible and what action they might take if an event occurs.
Implementing proportionate security measures then follows. This might include installing additional CCTV cameras, access control systems and intruder alarms.
Venue operators must consider how to mitigate the effects of a bomb blast. This might include installing blast-resistant glass and steel doors at entrances to a building, as well as placing bollards or barriers at entrances or exits, and increasing security patrols around sensitive areas within the premises.
Thorough Training and Physical Security Checks
In addition to CCTV and other physical security measures, the presence and situational awareness of staff members offer an important measure of protection.
If any employee feels that something doesn’t seem right about a person’s behaviour, he or she should report it immediately to their supervisor or manager so that action can be taken. Security staff in particular should be trained to spot unusual behaviour and act accordingly, including addressing the person concerned.
Training should include practical exercises so staff can become familiar with the organisation’s emergency response procedures. In addition, regular independent audits are required to test security provisions and processes.
Lodge Service provides a full range of counter-terror services, including security audits and planning, training and equipment installation. The security consultancy offers a free Insight Workshop to provide venue operators with advice on counter-terrorism measures.
“The Insight Workshop is an opportunity to bring together security, logistics, site managers and others, review their current security plans, procedures and training, and then set up a programme to address any gaps or further improvements that might be required,” says Judy Atkinson.
Get in touch today for further information