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Protect Duty proposals take a step forward

The government has set out its proposals on a new Protect Duty; a legal requirement for public places to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks.

Following a delay enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, the Protect Duty finally delivers on a manifesto commitment to improve the safety and security of public venues and spaces, drawing on lessons learned from previous terrorist incidents.

The proposals have been championed by victims’ groups, including the Martyn’s Law campaign which was established by Figen Murray, who tragically lost her son, Martyn, in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.

The Protect Duty consultation will run for 18 weeks and will seek the views on: who the Duty should apply to; what it will require stakeholders to do; how compliance should work; and how the government can support those in scope.

Whilst subject to consultation, the intention is that the Duty would apply to specified owners and operators of public venues, large organisations and those responsible for public spaces. It would require those in scope to consider terrorist threats, and consider and implement appropriate and proportionate protective security and organisational preparedness measures.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I have heard first hand from those who have sadly lost loved ones in horrific terror attacks, and thank them for their tireless work to ensure others do not share their tragedy. This government has already taken significant steps to amend our powers and strengthen the tools for dealing with the developing terrorist threats we face, and we will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security. That is why we want all organisations responsible for public venues and spaces to put public safety and security first.”

Figen Murray said: “Today is a major stride towards making our country safer from terror attacks. I want to thank the government for taking this step. To make Martyn’s Law a reality is of huge relief and I look forward to making a lasting difference with all of those who have supported it.”

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