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Coronavirus delays new public venue security plan

The proposed legislation for Martyn’s Law, which would introduce a new law to improve safety and security at public venues and spaces, has again been delayed due to coronavirus.

Drawn up following the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, the legislation, when passed, will require owners and operators to put in place measures to keep the public safe from a terrorist attack.

However, the Manchester Arena Inquiry has heard that a consultation to canvass opinion has been put on hold. The government's ‘protect duty’ plan, which builds on Martyn's Law, had been intended to go to consultation this spring.

Lucy D'Orsi, deputy assistant commissioner at National Counter Terrorism Police HQ, said that a protect duty would be transformational for the UK and it would be as ‘impactive as to protective security as GDPR has been for data handling’.

Shaun Hipgrave, who works as a director in the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) within the Home Office, described the delay as ‘frustrating’ but added that ‘there's no point doing a consultation if we don't get a meaningful response’.

Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds more injured when Salman Abedi detonated the bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017. One of the victims was Martyn Hett, after whom the proposed law is named.

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