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Martyn`s Law will Enhance Event and Venue Safety


On May 22nd 2017 twenty-two people tragically lost their lives when suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade explosive device in the foyer of the Manchester Arena as people were leaving at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. A further 139 people were wounded in the blast, more than half of them children, and several hundred more suffered serious psychological trauma.

Since the attack Figen Murray, the mother of attack victim Martyn Hett, has vigorously campaigned and lobbied central Government to make public venues adopt tough, anti-terrorism security measures. The UK Government fully supports these proposals which have already being welcomed by Manchester City Council.

Martyn Hett
Martyn Hett

What is Martyn’s Law?

Martyn’s law is named after Martyn Hett who was killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack. His mother, Figen Murray, has pushed for the introduction of new legislation that would require all venues to implement counter-terrorism plans.

Figen Murray
Figen Murray

The proposed legislation defines 5 requirements which include: 

  1. Venue operators should take proportionate and reasonable measures to prepare for and protect the public from such an attack
  2. Venues must engage with anti-terrorism training
  3. Venues need to carry out vulnerability assessments
  4. Venues should define counter-terrorism plans
  5. Venues must actively work to minimise the risk of attack.

In January 2020 Manchester City Council decided to be the first to bring in these new security initiatives by adopting new licensing rules, although they are not yet mandatory.

Venue Requirements

This new law, welcomed by those responsible for security at a wide variety of locations, will require that venues and events take appropriate steps to improve their physical security measures, ensure that all staff are rigorously trained, implement robust incident response plans and carry out staff exercises to make certain everyone is well-versed in what to do in the event of an incident.

manchester arena
Manchester Arena

During her campaign Figen Murray had claimed that her bag and tickets were not inspected and checked at a concert she attended at The Lowry at Salford Quays. The venue operators responded, pointing out that security personnel were on duty but the building is public with many areas not ‘ticketed’. This highlighted how it’s apparently possible for people to gain access to some public buildings without undergoing any security screening.

It is now likely that the UK will start to see the introduction of rigorous security screening that’s now commonplace at schools and sports stadia in the USA. The UK government has already published a detailed guide for those responsible for stadium and arena security.

Physical Checks

Figen Murry has said:

“Martyn’s Law is about simplicity, and it should be stressed that the cost to venues is always proportionate,”

figen murray with metal detector wand
Figen Murray demonstrates metal detector wand

To demonstrate her important point, at a press conference in 2019 she bought a budget metal detector wand to illustrate that cost-effective measures can be introduced and can be highly effective.

Practical security measures are likely to include more rigorous bag checks, the use of hand-held metal detectors by security staff along with airport-style walk-through metal detectors at some venues.

When Will New Legislation Become Mandatory?

Although the principles of Martyn’s law are set to be implemented in future licensing regulations by Manchester City Council and central Government has stated that it was ’seriously considering’ new anti-terrorism legislation named in his memory, firm dates for nationwide introduction have not yet been agreed. Many local authorities will be watching Manchester City Council to observe how they’ve rolled out their revised requirements for venues and events with a view toward introducing their own, regional regulations.

If you have any questions regarding security screening remember that we are here to help. Give us a call on 01273 475500 and we’ll give you some free, expert advice.

This message was added on Thursday 12th March 2020


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