What is Martyn’s Law and what does it mean to hotels?

What is Martyn’s Law and what does it mean to hotels?

Following the tragic death of 22 children at the Manchester Arena terror attack in 2017, a new legislation is set to be introduced in the UK to provide better protection against terrorism.

Figen Murray has been leading the charge for this law to be introduced, naming the proposed legislation after her son Martyn Hett – one of the victims. Martyn’s Law, also known as Protect Duty, will enforce all publicly accessible premises – from hotels, conference centres and tourist attractions to shopping centres, university campuses, and music/ sports venues – to have a dedicated plan relevant to varying terrorism threat levels.

The law will be dependent on venue size and circumstances, rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Owners and/or operators with a capacity of 100 persons or more, as well as large organisations employing 250 staff or more, will be required to consider public safety and carry out ‘reasonably predictable and appropriate’ protective security measures.

Why is it important?

There are currently no UK laws providing counter-terrorism protective measures or preparedness outcomes. There are a number that provide parallel legislation focused on crime and/or safety, including the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Licensing Act 2003, and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, but the introduction of Martyn’s Law will have focused legislation that enables venues to deal with terrorist threats more effectively.

Protect Duty creates clarity of responsibility and encourages good protective security practice – whether it is a simple bag search on entry, or a more sophisticated and comprehensive approach for larger crowds.

Why does this matter to hotels?

Hotels are specifically mentioned as a publicly accessible location and will likely fall under the categories of public venues or large organisations. Given that recently released statistics from eight of the largest UK police forces revealed 4,589 allegations of violence and 1,307 of public disorder, it is clear hotels can be a hotbed for criminal activity.

A standard tier will apply to locations with a maximum capacity of more than 100 which can undertake low-cost, simple yet effective activities to improve preparedness, including training, information sharing and completion of a preparedness plan to embed practices, such as locking doors to delay attackers progress or knowledge of lifesaving treatments that can be administered by staff whilst awaiting emergency services.

An enhanced tier will focus on high-capacity locations of more than 800 people at any time. These venues will be required to undertake a risk assessment to inform the development and implementation of a thorough security plan. Subsequent measures could include developing a vigilance and security culture, as well as implementation of physical measures like CCTV.

Martyn’s Law is expected to come into force in the first half of 2023.

For more information on how to make your hotel safer, visit our website.