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The Protect Duty – getting ready for new anti-terrorism measures


Ever since the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, campaigners have been seeking stronger anti-terrorism security measures. In response, the Government ran a public consultation on the Protect Duty, also known as Martyn’s Law, which focused on proportionate security measures at publicly accessible locations, and what support would be required from the Government.

The consultation ran until 2 July 2021, and the Government has now published its response. Whilst this response does not confirm when the Protect Duty will become law, it is only a matter of time.

Who will the Protect Duty apply to?

These measures will cover a wide range of spaces; from pubs, clubs, music venues, festivals, shops and restaurants, through to churches, government offices and transport hubs.

The proposal covers all public venues with a capacity of 100 or more people and large organisations employing at least 250 staff that operate at publicly accessible locations or public spaces, including event organisers using these spaces.

How will this affect Leisure and Hospitality businesses?

Businesses captured by the Protect Duty will need to have appropriate physical security as well as reasonable and proportionate systems that:

  • Assess the terror threats at their property
  • Address the risks to the public if a terror event were to happen
  • Manage and mitigate those risks

The obligations regarding what is reasonable and proportionate is likely to be greater for larger businesses and venues than smaller businesses such as independent shops and restaurants.

What if you don’t comply?

The proposed new duty is not criminal law and cannot result in prosecution. It will be a civil duty where non-compliance will be based on civil sanctions such as fines.

Will there be support for businesses?

Yes - the Home Office is collaborating with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and Pool Reinsurance to develop a new interactive online platform which is expected to provide advice, guidance, e-learning and other helpful content.

The site is currently undergoing user testing but is due to be launched publicly this year.

Making sure you’re ready

Many within the Leisure and Hospitality sector already have systems in place regarding terrorism risks. However with a new duty afoot, now is the time to make sure that those systems fit the bill.

A good place to start is our seven top tips to help ensure you are ready for the upcoming implementation.

  1. Consider if your business is likely to be captured by the proposed Protect Duty
  2. Review the guidance and information provided by Government to consider terrorist threats to your business
  3. Familiarise yourself with the materials already available from NaCTSO and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) which provide a baseline for education, training and mitigation advice before the Protect Duty is implemented
  4. Evaluate whether risk assessments, policies and procedures already in place are in line with what is being proposed under the consultation
  5. Implement and update risk assessments, policies and procedures where needed
  6. Review and refresh training where gaps are identified
  7. Have in place a clear plan on how to deal with a terrorist attack

Keoghs will be keeping a close eye on the new Protect Duty and will ensure that you are kept up to date with the Government’s intentions and timeline for further action.

For more information please contact David Scott or Vickie Forsyth.

Vickie Forsyth

Vickie Forsyth


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