UK government publishes draft legislation covering requirements for public safety and terrorist threats

27 July 2023 | Applicable law: England and Wales | 3 minute read

On 2 May 2023, the government published the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill setting out the requirements for venues and other organisations to meet public safety standards and the responsibilities for taking security steps to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks at public venues.

The Bill is also known as 'Martyn's Law', a tribute to Martyn Hett who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017. This proposed change in legislation will impact organisations (including charities and non-profits) that hold public events at public premises with a capacity of 100 or more people. Examples of public premises include shops, sports grounds, libraries and museums, exhibition halls, places of worship, and places of education (including higher education).

The Bill places responsibilities for registering premises, providing relevant training to staff, and putting enhanced anti-terrorist security measures in place on "the person responsible for qualifying public premises".

Martyn’s Law will extend to and apply across the whole of the United Kingdom and is projected to apply at approximately 300,000 different premises across the country.

Charities and non-profits will be included in those impacted by the Bill if it comes into force, either as persons responsible for premises themselves or where charities hold events in public venues. In the latter case, although charities may not be directly responsible for the requirements under the Bill, they may need to check that relevant documentation covers the requirements proposed under the Bill and that the venue being used is compliant.

A summary of the proposed rules and requirements under this Bill is as follows:

  • The Bill creates two different tiers of premises and events ('standard' and 'enhanced') with different requirements applying in each tier. A 'standard duty' applies to public premises with a capacity of 100 to 799, whereas an 'enhanced duty' applies to public premises with a capacity of 800 or over.
  • Qualifying public premises may be located within other premises, for example, a charity shop within a shopping centre. In this case, the Bill applies to both sets of premises (ie the individual shop as well as the shopping centre overall).
  • Limited exemptions to the capacity requirements apply to education establishments and places of worship.
  • The Bill will create a new regulator, which will be empowered to inspect and enforce the new requirements.
  • Qualifying public premises are required to be register under the Bill and must give the regulator notice of qualifying public events being held at the premises.
  • All premises are required to have evaluations or risk assessments undertaken (by the person responsible for the premises) depending on the premises' designation as 'standard' or 'enhanced', and terrorism protection training must be provided to workers involved in work at the relevant public venue or involved with the public event being held.
  • Enhanced tier premises and events have further requirements in recognition of the potential consequences of a successful attack, including appointing a designated senior officer who must regularly review the security of the venue.
  • The Bill provides for the regulator to make sanctions to address non-compliance, including fixed penalties of up to £10,000 for standard duty premises (which may be issued alongside daily penalties of up to £500 per day, up to a maximum of £10,000) or £18,000,000 or 5% of worldwide revenue for enhanced duty premises (with daily penalties of 1% of the amount of the fixed penalty issued also being applicable).  

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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