- Security TWENTY
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The mother of one of the victims of the May 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack is taking her campaign for a ‘Martyn’s Law’, with a senior newly-retired counter-terrorism policeman, to the International Security Expo on Tuesday, December 3.
She is Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett. She is speaking at 3.45pm to the Counter Terrorism Summit at the London Olympia event. The otherwise entry-restricted summit will be open to anyone inside the exhibition. Alongside her will be Nick Aldworth, the former UK National Counter Terrorism Co-ordinator. In a nine-page document on the Expo website, he says he is passionate about seeing such a law made: “The British public need to be protected and Martyn’s Law is the only way to mobilise the action that will ensure this. In a world of ambiguity, it is the clear and right thing to do.”
For more on ‘Martyn’s Law’, visit https://www.internationalsecurityexpo.com/images/Martyns_Law_Final_Report.pdf. (Since the document was published, the UK threat level has been lowered from severe to substantial.)
Briefly, the document argues that recent years have seen a shift in the nature and scale of terrorism (attacks with everyday vehicles and knives used as weapons, more than 2000 ‘subjects of interest’ for the counter-terror authorities, besides many thousands more that come to attention), and that the UK needs to make a fundamental change in how it thinks about the threat.
Hence the call for for a legal requirement, covering any place or space where the public has access, that venues should take counter-terror advice and training; carry out vulnerability assessments; mitigate the risks shown from those assessments; and put in place a counter-terror plan. A requirement is proposed for local authorities to plan for the threat of terrorism.
While the campaigners acknowledge that there are laws in this area, such as the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and health and safety at work law, they say that the UK has no laws aimed at requiring counter-terror protective security and preparedness.
To pay for extra physical or electronic security measures, a low or no-interest loan scheme is proposed, with the precedent of the Home Office funding for security equipment for places of worship; and use of the official insurance scheme for terrorism, Pool Re.
Figen Murray’s petition for such a law, such as requiring venues to use metal detectors, received more than 23,000 signatures, but not enough to trigger the 100,000 whereby a petition is debated in the House of Commons. The Home Office replied to the petition that for major events a police commander will be appointed to oversee policing. Sites can receive bespoke protective security advice from a CTSA (Counter-Terrorism Security Advisor) or the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO). Government policy is that owners and operators of crowded places select and deploy security as most appropriate for their site, based on official advice and guidance.