Martyn’s Law (Protect Duty): Are you ready?

May 22, 2023
Published by Dudley CVS

Martyn’s Law (Protect Duty): Are you ready?

Question: Do you own, control, manage or use (for events, groups or other group activities) a public venue with a capacity of over 100 people?

If you do, then this article is relevant to you, and is likely to require you to take some action.

In this article we will explain the key points about the draft Martyn’s Law (Terrorism: Protection of Premises) Bill, and outline the support available to help you prepare for the legislation. The article has been written by Chris Dowen (MoRServ Limited), who is a recently retired Senior Police who has set up a business called MoRServ Ltd with two other colleagues to help local organisations and communities better  understand and respond to their daily crime and safety challenges and issues.

Martyn’s Law

Martyn’s Law is draft legislation released on the 2nd May 2023 that aims to further improve public safety, enhance national security, and reduce the risk to the public from terrorism through the protection of public premises and events.

It is estimated that the legislation is likely to impact on approximately 625,000 organisations when implemented, so we want to get this information out as wide as possible so that voluntary organisations can be aware of the legislation and start to consider if/how this may affect them.

Martyn’s Law: Key extracts from the Government Briefing Note (2/5/23)

Why do we need Martyn’s Law? – There have been 15 terror attacks in the UK since 2017 and the terrorist threat is multifaceted, diverse, and continually evolving, making it difficult to predict terrorist attack targets.  We need to improve security and ensure robust, proportionate, and consistent measures are in place at public venues to improve public security.

What will Martyn’s Law do? – It will place a requirement on those responsible for certain premises and events to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. The legislation will ensure responsible persons are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes.

Who will be in scope? – Premises which are accessible to the public, are used primarily for a purpose listed in the Bill (e.g. for entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink, museums and galleries, sports grounds, public areas of local and central Government
buildings, visitor attractions, places of worship, health, and education establishments), and have a public capacity greater than 100 individuals. Premises in scope will include buildings and permanent outdoor premises which have a physical boundary. The Bill will also make provisions for events (e.g. festivals) which have a public capacity of 800 or more individuals, and where access to the event is by express permission (i.e. payment or ticketed entry).

What are the requirements? – The Bill will impose requirements on premises and events to increase their preparedness for and protection from a terrorist attack by requiring them to take proportionate steps, depending on the size and nature of the activities that take place there. Proportionality is a fundamental consideration for this legislation. It will therefore establish a tiered model, linked to the activity that takes place at a premise or event and its capacity:

  • A standard tier will drive good preparedness outcomes. Responsible persons will be required to undertake simple yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness. This will apply to qualifying premises with a maximum capacity of 100
    or more individuals. This could include larger retail stores, bars, or restaurants.
  • An enhanced tier will see additional requirements placed on high-capacity venues in recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of a successful attack. This will apply to premises and events with a capacity of 800 or more individuals. This could include live music premises or events, theatres, and department stores.

What will those in scope of the standard tier specifically have to do? – Standard duty holders will need to undertake easy and simple activities to meet their obligations. This will include completion of a plan to ensure better preparedness, free training, awareness raising, and cascading of information to staff. The aim is to ensure staff are better prepared to respond quickly to evolving situations, aware of what processes they should follow, able to make rapid decisions and carry out actions that will save lives. This could be as simple as
locking doors to delay attackers progress and access, whilst guiding staff and customers to alternative exits. It could also enable lifesaving treatment to be administered by staff whilst awaiting the arrival of emergency services.

What will those in scope of enhanced duty premises and events specifically be asked to do? – A risk assessment and security plan, considered to a ‘reasonably practicable’ standard, will be required. The premise or event will take forward reasonably practicable measures (including systems and processes) to mitigate the risk of terrorist attacks occurring or physical harm being caused as a result of such an attack. Responsible persons will 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).

Who is responsible for requirements at a premise or event in scope?– The Bill places the requirement on the person who has control of the premise or event; this is usually the operator or occupier. It also places a requirement for co-operation on those with aspects of control of the premise or event (e.g. the owner of a premise where not  the operator) where necessary to deliver requirements.

Will this affect accessibility? – The requirements for premises and events in scope will vary dependent on the outcome of their assessments but would for many include changes to security systems and processes, and how staff are trained. As such, many changes the proposals would drive are likely to be ‘behind the scenes’ that the public would not notice. In some instances, where physical security features are considered to be required, there may be obvious changes to the public, but they should never compromise accessibility.

How will Martyn’s Law be enforced? – An inspection capability will be established to seek to educate, advise, and ensure compliance with the requirements. The draft Bill includes provisions to establish a Regulator, to provide for appropriate investigatory powers and enforcement actions they may undertake, and sanctions which may be applied for noncompliance. Sanctions are primarily based on monetary penalties.

How will my business or organisation be supported on Martyn’s Law? – Dedicated guidance and support will be provided for Martyn’s Law, to ensure that those in scope have the required information on what to do and how best to do it. As part of this approach, we will expand the support available to those responsible for delivering security in public venues.   A new online platform has already been developed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), Home Office and Pool Reinsurance to support all those seeking to
enhance their protective security. Protect UK is a central, consolidated hub for trusted guidance, advice, learning and engagement with experts in security and Counter Terrorism. It serves as the ‘go to’ resource for free, 24/7 access to the latest information on protective security and is regularly updated with new engaging content and increased functionality.

What about premises/events run by charities and volunteers? – Charities, community groups and social enterprises own and operate a broad range of premises (museums, national trust and other sizeable public premises) and often host or operate events.

Government will use the scrutiny period to better understand the impact on premises and events run by charitable and voluntary led groups, and in turn consider the proposals and how these group can be supported. The proposals for places for worship are different to other premises in scope. All places of worship will be placed within the baseline tier, regardless of their capacity, barring a small cohort across all faiths that charge a fee for admission. This is in recognition of the existing range of mitigation activities delivered and funded by Government to reduce their vulnerability to terrorism and hate crime.

Will Martyn’s Law apply to all of the UK?  - Yes. The legislation will apply across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as national security is a reserved matter for the UK Government.

When will this important legislation be introduced? – The Government will introduce the draft Bill to the House, following the completion of the scrutiny process, and as soon as parliamentary time allows.

When will this become law? – It is not possible to give a date. It is likely to receive Royal Assent in early 2024, and there will be a lead in time allowing for those captured by the legislation to prepare for commencement.


Information about MoRServ Ltd
MoRServ Ltd has been set up to help and support local organisations and communities better understand and respond to their daily crime and safety challenges and issues.

Offers and Services – MoRServ are offering free monthly Martyn’s Law updates for any organisation. To access this offer, please email

The company also provides:

• Services to support organisations meet their daily risk management challenges and prepare for the likely impact of Martyn’s Law. To find out more visit
• Web-based software called AURa that helps organisations manage their daily business risks and prepare for Martyn’s Law. To find out more visit

Dudley CVS in partnership with MorServ will be running another free information event on 8th August. Here is the link for more info and to book:

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