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Putting public safety first.

For many, the winter season is a time to curl up and hibernate in front of the fire with a good book or TV drama. But for others, winter is the highlight of the social calendar.

The UK hospitality and entertainment sector wakes up from sleepy September to welcome the start of the party season. From small family gatherings through to large-scale events including concerts, bonfires, pantomimes, corporate do’s, festive fairs, pop-up markets, Santa’s grottos and Winter Wonderlands will keep them busy from Bonfire Night through to New Year’s Eve.

Are you prepared for Martyn’s Law?

Giles Reading, Irwell’s CEO explains why he welcomes the forthcoming Martyn’s Law and gives an overview of what it will mean for those in charge of managing – and protecting the entertainment and leisure sectors.

Duty of care. Health and safety. Compliance regulations. Security measures. Regulatory regimes. Public Safety. Risk assessments. Risk mitigation.

Working in liability insurance, we hear these words day in, day out. Public and employee safety and minimising business risk are at the core of what we do.

But in future, working in the leisure, entertainment and hospitality sectors, two words will have as much meaning as any of these. Martyn’s Law.

The Protect Duty has been renamed Martyn’s Law in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the devastating Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

Similar to the ‘Duty of Care’ requirement under workplace health and safety legislation, Martyn’s Law puts responsibility on to owners or managers to ensure the safety of employees and people who are attending their building, location or event.

Although still under review, businesses should start to embrace the sentiment of Martyn’s Law and put measures in place now. Why wait for it to be passed in Parliament? Afterall, high-risk incidents and

terrorists wait for nobody.

Martyn’s Law will make security preparedness a salient priority for all publicly accessible locations. It will improve and maintain safety standards to ensure that security best practice is delivered consistently and lawfully across the UK. In short, it will ensure better protection of the UK public against a terrorist attack.

Reading feels that the recommended measures will also have a far-reaching and positive impact on public and employee safety in every high-risk situation, not just terrorism.

He believes that supporting organisations to meet their requirements under the forthcoming Martyn’s Law legislation through practical support, guidance and training is of paramount importance.

Which businesses will be affected?

Martyn’s Law will apply to all UK premises which have a public capacity greater than 100 individuals. Premises in scope are defined as ‘buildings and permanent outdoor premises which have a physical boundary.’ The bill will also make provisions for events such as concerts and festivals which have a public capacity of 800 or more people.

Martyn’s Law will help improve safety across the entire entertainment and leisure industry including retail, food and drink, museums, galleries, sports grounds, hotels, visitor attractions, places of worship, health and education establishments plus public areas in local and central Government buildings.

What security improvements will be required?

Figen Murray, Martyn’s mum has campaigned tirelessly for this groundbreaking legislation. Working alongside the Government, security partners, business and victims’ groups, and Survivors Against Terror, the new duty will require venues and premises to take significant measures to improve public safety.

These measures required will be dependent on the venue capacity and the activity taking place. Martyn’s Law will therefore follow a tiered model (standard and enhanced) to help prevent undue and untenable burdens on smaller, lower risk businesses.

The standard tier will apply to locations with a capacity of over 100 such as retail stores, bars, or restaurants.

These businesses can introduce relatively low-cost, simple yet effective solutions to improve their security preparedness. Measures include staff training, information sharing and completion of a security plan to formalise best practice protocols, such as evacuation plans and locking doors to delay attackers or training lifesaving skills that can be administered whilst waiting for emergency services.

The enhanced tier will focus on high-capacity locations of over 800 people. This could include live music events, theatres, and department stores.

In addition to the above standard-tier measures, these businesses will be required to undertake a risk assessment to form the creation and implementation of a formal and thorough security plan. Additional measures could include embedding a ‘security culture’ within the businesses with the introduction of CCTV, smart alarms, professional monitoring systems and a dedicated team of people and processes to enable earlier and better detection of security risks.

When Martyn’s Law comes into force, the UK will be taking a huge step towards providing employees with

a safer place to work and a safer entertainment environment for the public.

A befitting legacy from a man who loved to party.