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Martyn's Law: government backs plans for 'airport-like security measures' at stadiums

By Tom Walker    13 Jan 2020
Some European stadiums already operate with stringent safety measures – such as the Dinamo stadium in Minsk, Belarus / Tricky_Shark/Shutterstock

Sports stadiums and large entertainment venues could soon be forced to implement airport-style security checks, after the government offered its backing to the controversial "Martyn's Law" proposals.

Martyn's Law is a campaign led by Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, who died in the 2017 suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena.

Murray has campaigned for sports stadiums, concert halls and other entertainment venues to be forced to adopt a range of measures – such as the installation of metal detectors – and to compel public venues and spaces to undergo counter-terror training and implement specific security policies.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday security minister Brandon Lewis has now suggested that the government was "100 per cent" behind the proposals driven by Murray.

"The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson), Home Secretary (Priti Patel) and I are all 100 per cent behind Figen and are working to improve security measures at public venues and spaces," Lewis wrote.

"We are working quickly to come up with a solution that will honour Martyn’s memory and all of those affected by terrorism."

Lewis' comments followed Manchester City Council (MCC) becoming the first local authority to commit to adopting Martyn's Law.

"Going forward, the council will review the way in which it licences venues in order to ensure high safety standards are in place across the City," MCC said in a statement.

"Initially, this will have to be voluntary changes made by the owners of licensed premises.

"However, given the significance of the terror attack on Manchester, and the depth of feeling in the wake of the attack, we would hope that the practices which underlie Martyn’s Law would be taken up with enthusiasm.

"The Council is in the process of developing a scheme of best practice amongst licensed venues, and exploring the ways by which Martyn’s Law could be implemented at a local level."

Speaking following MCC's decision, Figen Murray said: “I'm so pleased to see that Manchester City Council has embraced the principles of Martyn's Law and are setting a brilliant example by introducing some of its principles.

"It feels like a recognition and deep respect for the bereaved families and the hundreds of injured people. I am certain that Martyn's Law will save lives through the Council applying simple common sense."

Martyn’s Law

Martyn’s Law is a proposed piece of legislation that seeks to create a "coherent and proportionate approach" to protective security.

Its proponents call for it to apply to "any place or space to which the public have access".

They say that, for smaller venues, the law may simply require some additional measures to their already mandated fire plans.

For bigger, more complex venues, however, it sets out five demands.

• A requirement that spaces and places to which the public have access engage with freely available counter-terrorism advice and training

• A requirement for those places to conduct vulnerability assessments of their operating places and spaces• A requirement for those places to mitigate the risks created by the vulnerabilities

• A requirement for those places to have a counter-terrorism plan• A requirement for local authorities to plan for the threat of terrorism

Martyn's Law  safety 
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