Venue owners could face legal requirement to introduce anti-terror measures
The owners of venues in the UK could be legally required to introduce measures to protect them from terrorism under new plans by the Home Office.
In the wake of stabbings at Fishmonger’s Hall and Streatham in recent months the Government is to consult on a “Protect Duty” to improve safety in public spaces.
It would mean taking “proportionate and reasonable measures" to prepare for a potential attack, such as increased physical security, incident response plans and training exercises for staff.
The Tory manifesto included a commitment on learning the lessons of a series of attacks in 2017, and the proposals come after discussions with victims’ groups such as the Martyn’s Law campaign, established by Figen Murray after her son was killed in the Manchester Arena attack.
Security minister James Brokenshire said: “Our first priority is keeping the public safe and preventing more families from suffering the heartbreak of losing a loved one.
“The devastating attacks in 2017, and more recently at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham, are stark reminders of the current threat we face.
“We are in complete agreement with campaigners such as Figen Murray on the importance of venues and public spaces having effective and proportionate protective security and preparedness measures to keep people safe.”
He added: “Of course, it is important that this new law is proportionate.
“This public consultation will ensure we put in place a law that will help protect the public while not putting undue pressure on businesses.”
Ms Murray said: "As Martyn's mum I want to thank the Government. Today's consultation is the start of making us all that bit safer.
“Public venues already have all sorts of obligations from fire prevention to health and safety - but until now there has been no duty to protect their customers."
And Labour's shadow security minister Nick Thomas-Symonds paid tribute to campaigners, saying there can be "no objection to a proper consultation".
He added: ”However, a duty to protect is no substitute for professional policing. Combating the terrorists requires everything from community policing through to counter-terrorism.
"Unfortunately, successive Tory governments axed police numbers and the current Government does not have plans to fully restore them any time soon."