Martyn’s Law – Latest Update

Concertgoers with arms in the air enjoying light show

What is Martyn’s Law

Martyn’s Law is more widely known as the Protect Duty. It is legislation designed to improve protective security and organisational preparedness at publicly accessible locations. This is in response to the Manchester Arena incident on 22 May 2017 when a homemade improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated by Salman Abedi, as concertgoers exited the venue after the Ariana Grande concert. A total of 22 people were killed, over 250 people sustained physical injuries and hundreds more suffered psychological or emotional trauma.


Draft legislation was introduced to Parliament on the 10 May 2022 and will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.  

Who will it affect

Premises will fall within the scope of the duty where “qualifying activities” take place. This will include locations such as entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink, museums and galleries, sports grounds, public areas of local and central government buildings (e.g town halls), visitor attractions, temporary events, places of worship, health, and education.

It is proposed that the duty will apply to eligible premises which are either: a building (including collections of buildings used for the same purposes, e.g. a campus); or a location/event (including a temporary event) that has a defined boundary, allowing capacity to be known. Eligible locations whose maximum occupancy meets the above-specified thresholds will then be drawn into the relevant tier.   

Therefore, premises will be drawn into the scope of the duty if they meet the following three tests:  

  • That the premises is an eligible one – i.e., building or event with a defined boundary.   
  • That a qualifying activity takes place at the location; and   
  • That the maximum occupancy of the premises meets a specified threshold – either 100+ or 800+ 

What does this mean for Publicly Accessible Locations?

Martyn’s Law will follow a tiered model linked to activity that takes place at a location and its capacity aimed to prevent undue burden on businesses

  • standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100. The aim is to increase use and engagement with existing resources that help teams undertake low-cost, simple yet effective activities to improve preparedness. This will include training, information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers’ progress or knowledge on lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff whilst awaiting emergency services. 
  • An enhanced tier will focus on high-capacity locations in recognition of the potential consequences of a successful attack. Locations with a capacity of over 800 people at any time, will additionally be required to undertake a risk assessment to inform the development and implementation of a security plan to assess the balance of risk reduction against the time, money and effort required to achieve a successful level of security preparedness – a recognised standard in other regulatory regimes (including Fire and Health and Safety).

Inspection and Enforcement Regime

The Government will establish an inspection and enforcement regime, promoting compliance and positive cultural change and issuing credible and fair sanctions for serious breaches. 

Dedicated statutory guidance and bespoke support will be provided by the Government to ensure those in scope can effectively discharge their responsibilities, with even small venues also able to benefit from this and take voluntary action. Expert advice, training and guidance is also already available on the online protective security hub, ProtectUK.

Martyn’s Law will extend to and apply across the whole of the United Kingdom and the Government will publish draft legislation in the early Spring to ensure the law stands the test of time.

Competent Person Scheme

There is ongoing consultation in respect of how the competent person scheme will be administered and at this time no decision has been made.

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