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"Through Martyn’s Law, premises will be better prepared and ready to respond in the event of a terrorist attack." - Home Office

You’ve got your finger on the pulse of the modern world and have been hearing about a new security law that may soon come to pass but you haven’t fully understood what it’s about or how it affects you. Martyn’s Law, also known as the Protect Duty.

Hearing phrases like venue capacity tiers can cause some concerns but this will help to explain away some of the confusion for its effects on education.

What is it?

Martyn’s Law is dedicated to ensuring that premises at risk of being targeted for terror attacks will be prepared and effective in those crucial moments. This is especially important for a school where the impact of such an attack would be huge. As such, limiting the effect of an attack would go a long way towards national security and the feeling of safety that everybody needs.

The term "venue capacity tier" refers to the population in a facility and what kind of security measures should be taken to protect that facility. The definitions of those tiers and what you may need to do if you lie within them can also be found in this home office article.

  • Standard tier refers to venues with a capacity of 100-799 people and will need the venue to follow the guidelines for standard tier security measures should the law come to pass. "This includes simple, yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness." through "accessing free awareness raising materials and development of a basic preparedness plan". according to a homeland security update.
  • An enhanced tier premises or event is one that can hold 800+ capacity and would require more stringent measures for security and protection. On top of the needs of the standard requirements, this will require you to take "reasonably practicable measures that will reduce the risk of a terrorist attack occurring or physical harm being caused." as well as keeping a security document for an assessment of terrorism risk.

What would I need to do?

The responsibility of being prepared for an attack lies mostly on the person or board with control of a buildings security and policies. For a school, this may mean the SLT, a local authority or the board of a multi academy trust. The Home Office has released many updates detailing what can be expected of a venue with this new law. These regulations are designed to maximise efforts for training in emergency situations and reducing the damage done in the event of a terror attack.

You should expect that the ruling requires yourself and others to be prepared for such an attack. This may include knowing what to do to safely evacuate the building depending on the state of the situation. How to safely hinder the attackers progress through the locking of doors and other such methods as well as activating any available security/alarm systems available.

Non-compliance with the law could result in monetary sanctions and investigative action against the premises by a regulator though their first duty is to advise and help you to reach compliance.

What can be done to achieve this?

The modern world may come with modern problems, but also modern solutions. There is an ever-growing number of ways that a school can protect itself from attacks and intruders as well as ensuring that the students and staff are completely safe. This can vary wildly based on the layout and capabilities of the school. For example, a card scanning system such as InVentry that identifies who is at what location as well as unlocking/locking doors. Preventing anyone from entering areas they shouldn’t be and keeping track of everyone in an emergency.

Another solution is a robust school lockdown alert system that alerts the entire school without placing anyone in harms way such as LOCAS. A wireless auditory alert system with a tannoy and a number of sounds/messages for spreading awareness of any issues in the school, which of course includes but isn't limited to, a terror attack. This system allows for instant communication of threats to the entire school. This is all be done wirelessly and the actions taken by staff during this time can be practiced to ensure blanket safety in the school. Relevant to Martyn's Law's requirement for preparedness and practiced procedures. Perhaps not reducing the risk of an attack happening but greatly reducing the effectiveness of one.

Innovative security measures are constantly being developed and improved for the safety of you and your school. Allowing for a diverse strategy when coming face to face with threats to pupils and staff alike.

If you’d like to learn more about this technology then you can fill in our contact form and we'll be happy to help.

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