Protect Duty Update

Home Office written statement – made am ar 5 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

Today the Government has launched a public consultation on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill. The Bill is also known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was tragically killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

The Government reaffirmed its commitment to introduce this important piece of legislation in the King’s Speech on 7 November 2023. Extensive engagement and support from security partners, business and victims’ groups, including Figen Murray and the Martyn’s Law Campaign Team, has enabled significant progress on the development of Martyn’s Law to date. The Government would like, once again, to pay particular thanks to Figen Murray for her tireless campaign and significant personal contribution she has made to progress this Bill.

Overview

The threat picture is complex, evolving, and enduring, with terrorists choosing to attack a broad range of locations. Since the start of 2017 there have been 14 terror attacks in the UK. Too many have sadly lost their lives.

The Bill will ensure premises in the UK are better prepared for terrorist attacks by requiring them to take necessary but proportionate steps according to their capacity to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack and reduce harm. Our expert security partners strongly consider that even basic knowledge will help to protect the public in the event of an attack. Through the Bill, those responsible for premises will be better prepared and ready to respond in the event of a terrorist attack, thereby enhancing public safety.

Following an 18-week public consultation on proposals in 2021, the Government confirmed its intention to bring forward the Bill in December 2022. To ensure the measures can meaningfully enhance public safety whilst remaining proportionate, we requested the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) conduct pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill, which was published in May 2023.

Pre-legislative scrutiny, as well as our extensive engagement programme, provided important feedback from Parliamentarians, businesses and other key stakeholders. This feedback particularly focused on the application of the proposals in relation to standard duty premises. These premises - the Standard Tier - are smaller, being largely those with a capacity of 100 to 799 individuals e.g. many retail stores, bars, restaurants, theatres and village halls.

Next steps

On the strength of that feedback, we have revised the Standard Tier requirements to make them clearer and more proportionate, whilst ensuring they deliver on their primary objective: to implement simple procedures which could reduce harm and save lives in the event of a suspected attack. The consultation is focused specifically on this revised approach to the Standard Tier.

Consultation

This new approach is considered to be more proportionate, meaningful, effective and transparent than that previously agreed for the following reasons:

  • The purpose of the primary duty is now outcome-focused, aligns with comparable regimes (i.e. Health and Safety) and removes any previous assumptions around the Standard Tier requirements being too instructive and rigid i.e. a “tick box” exercise.
  • It brings greater clarity to costs and expectations i.e. the Standard Tier holds no legal requirement for premises to consider physical security measures, but focuses on procedures and the actions people working at the premises should take in response to an attack.
  • It measures all premises in scope against the same standard of “reasonably practicable”. This approach is better suited to the wide range of organisations that will be within scope of the Standard Tier because they will assess and implement procedures that are suitable for their individual circumstances. The “reasonably practicable” test includes what is financially feasible for a premises.
  • We have moved away from a prescribed training requirement (i.e. a one size fits all package for all relevant staff). Instead, those responsible will be required to ensure that their procedures are adequately communicated and practised by relevant staff. Again, in implementing relevant procedures, those responsible will be held to a “reasonably practicable” standard.

The consultation seeks specific feedback on these measures to ensure the updated requirements proposed for Standard Tier premises are appropriate.

It also seeks respondents’ views on how any costs incurred by the Standard Tier requirements should be met and how premises currently meet similar obligations under Health and Safety and Fire Safety legislation.

The consultation will run until 18 March 2024 and is available on GOV.UK. It is open to the public, and is targeted at organisations, businesses, local and public authorities, and/or individuals who own or operate premises that the proposed Bill would affect. We particularly welcome views from those responsible for the smaller premises which would fall within the Standard Tier, especially those in the community and voluntary sector.

I am looking forward to concluding the consultation process, which will support the Government in finalising the legislation and ensuring it is robust and delivers on its core aims ahead of a formal introduction to Parliament.

A copy of the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.