Manchester attack: Government moves forward with ‘Martyn’s Law’on February 26, 2021 at 4:54 am

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A consultation begins into new anti-terror legislation in memory of Manchester bomb victim Martyn Hett.

Martyn Hett

image copyrightFamily handout

The government has launched a consultation on new anti-terrorism legislation in memory of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing.

Building on Martyn’s Law, the new Protect Duty will require public places and venues to improve security measures to protect against a terrorist attack.

It follows a campaign by Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett who died in the 2017 attack.

Whitehall backed the plans last year but work stalled due to the pandemic.

Mr Hett was one of 22 people killed in a suicide bombing in the foyer of the Manchester Arena which left hundreds more injured.

Protect Duty legislation would make a legal requirement for venue operators to consider the risk of a terrorist attack and take steps to protect the public.

Currently, private and public owners of venues and sites are not obliged to act on advice about threats of a terrorist attack and how to mitigate the risk.

Figen Murray

image copyrightManchester Arena Inquiry

Ms Murray welcomed the move, which she described as “a major stride towards making our country safer”.

She said: “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.”

“My focus will always be to stop such violent acts from happening again because Martyn and the other 21 victims cannot have lost their lives for nothing.”

In November, Ms Murray told the public inquiry into the bombing that “the stakes were too high” for further delay.

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.

“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.”

Top row (left to right): Alison Howe, Martyn Hett, Lisa Lees, Courtney Boyle, Eilidh MacLeod, Elaine McIver, Georgina Callander, Jane Tweddle - Middle row (left to right): John Atkinson, Kelly Brewster, Liam Curry, Chloe Rutherford, Marcin Klis, Angelika Klis, Megan Hurley, Michelle Kiss - Bottom row (left to right): Nell Jones, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Philip Tron, Saffie-Rose Roussos, Sorrel Leczkowski, Wendy Fawell

image copyrightFamily handouts

Among the Protect Duty proposals are:-

  • the introduction of free counter-terror training for event staff
  • assessments of locations to see how vulnerable they are
  • the need for venues and local authorities to have clear counter-terror action plans
  • more thorough security checks, including bag searches.

The 18-week consultation will work with organisations including counter-terror police, and seek views on how the legislation would work and who precisely it would apply to.

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