MPs criticise draft Martyn’s Law Bill

October 2, 2023

MPs criticise draft Martyn’s Law Bill

From our colleagues at Barbour EHS.

‘The Protect Duty’, also known as Martyn’s Law, will introduce a legal obligation for the owners and operators of publicly accessible locations to take suitable and proportionate measures to protect the public from terrorist attacks and increase public safety.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) draft Bill has recently been criticised by MPs on the Home Affair Select Committee in a report which claims that the legislation would be ineffective, not prevent terrorism attacks and would place unreasonable burdens on small and medium sized businesses. The report also concluded that the legislation would be hard to apply consistently.

The MPs on the Committee said that it was unclear what the principle aims of the legislation were, as it had been promoted as legislation to prevent terrorism but the measures would instead reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack that has actually taken place.

It was also claimed that the majority of terrorist attacks in the UK since 2010 would not be covered by the Bill. The report concluded:

“We are concerned to learn that the draft bill would not have made a difference to the vast majority of the terrorist attacks that have happened in the UK in recent years.”

Furthermore the report goes on to say: “Whilst we welcome the Government’s overall intention behind the Draft legislation, we have serious concerns about the proportionality of the Bill, especially in relation to the impact on smaller businesses, voluntary and community-run organisations in the standard tier premises, where there is a lack of evidence that the Bill will adequately reduce the threat of terrorism for smaller organisations. We also have some concerns about the unfinished provisions in the Draft Bill, the purpose of the Bill, the regulator and some of the duties required. There are a number of other areas in which we feel that the Draft Bill could be improved upon, including introducing a provision for mandatory life-saving training and statutory standards for the design of new buildings.”

The Government has two months to respond to the Committee’s findings.

Our Comment

It will be very interesting to learn of the Government’s response to the Committee’s findings to this draft legislation which has to date, received significant support from the industry and members of the public.

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