How large venues can start preparing their security for Martyn’s Law
Venues and stadia were put on notice when the UK Government confirmed that Martyn’s Law, formerly the Protect Duty, is being taken forward.
The legislation, which demands more from public spaces to prepare and protect themselves from acts of terror, will begin its ascension into UK law in Spring 2023.
By now, all live sport and entertainment venues in the UK should understand Martyn’s Law will force a rethink of existing incident response plans. Particularly, venues with a capacity of 800 or more, who are expected to fall into the ‘enhanced tier’ of the regulation and must adopt measures proportional to the size of their security operation.
The specifics of what those measures will be are currently unclear and subject to change. Organisations should therefore be suspicious of consultants already claiming they can ensure a venue will comply with the new regulation. However, there are some sensible steps that venues should be thinking about now that can simplify efforts to enhance security preparedness.
The first thing we know is that Martyn’s Law will be underpinned by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office’s guidance on Publicly Accessible Locations. The guidance provides a comprehensive strategy for incident prevention and response, including CCTV, access control and identification of hostile vehicles.
Adjacent to the technology, we also know the guidance highlights the importance of creating a security culture across all personnel. Any new security protocols must therefore leverage technology that helps to reinforce this.
Naturally, the cost impact of this will be front of mind for venues. New security systems may be just as expensive as upgrading current ones, and the energy crisis is already putting pressure on running costs. A response to Martyn’s Law may include increasing staff with broader training, again at cost to the venue. Starting now and looking to spread the cost of any required upgrades over several years can make this more achievable.
The Association of Event Venues’ (AEV) response to the Government announcement rightly identifies that targets and attack methods change over time. Venues also must consider security measures that can adapt to whatever form the legislation takes.
As UK venues wait for confirmation on what Martyn’s Law means for their business, a sensible step to prepare for any eventuality is to assess the capabilities of the existing security measures in place.
Are they fit for purpose? Can they evolve with the venue’s requirements and can they keep up with the organisation’s vision?
With the increasing amount of new security technologies and sensors available, an open approach to security is critical.
The key to an open approach lies in using technology to visualise all relevant data through one interface. That way training time can be reduced, operator tasks become simplified and incident response times can be reduced.
Effective terror preparedness also incorporates reinforcing standard operating procedures that make incident response replicable. It’s all very well keeping these in a binder on a shelf in the control room. But in a moment of crisis what are the chances of them being consulted and religiously followed?
This again is where technology can play a valuable role. Taking the time now to digitise some of these procedures and create guided workflows for operators to follow can really pay dividends in the moments they are needed the most.
It will almost certainly be the case that Martyn’s Law increases the responsibility of venues to assist the police after a terror incident. Procedures for the secure sharing of video evidence for judicial purposes should also, therefore, be revisited.
It’s still the case that much evidence collection relies on manual processes such as sharing footage on USB sticks or burning it to DVDs. Yet the Cloud offers much better options for a faster, safer and more accountable means of providing access to digital evidence.
Sensible steps can be taken now to help sport and live entertainment venues prepare for whatever Martyn’s Law brings. Venues can be in the best position for a new era of anti-terror operations by making their security systems work in unison, and the technology to achieve this is ready and waiting.
Business Development Manager