A duty to protect

The United Kingdom is no stranger to terror attacks in public spaces and has suffered a number of recent low-sophistication attacks. This is in addition to the devastation of larger-scale atrocities, such as the Manchester Arena bombing.

Martyn Hett aged 29 was one of 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017. His mother, Figen Murray, has campaigned for changes in the law which would tighten security at venues and require authorities to have proactive plans against terror attacks. This has given rise to the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill, also known as Martyn’s Law, which is currently being scrutinised by a Home Affairs Select Committee and if passed will create a duty to protect.

Martyn’s Law is pending UK wide legislation that will place a requirement on those responsible for certain public premises and events to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. This is likely to include venues providing bingo.

The Bingo Association has been considering the potential implications and exploring what bingo operators can do to better protect themselves and those that visit their premises. The Association spoke with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) to discuss this and explore their free, publicly available protective security guidance and how it can support the safety and security of businesses, employees and customer.

Why are bingo operators being asked to consider and adopt protective security and emergency preparedness considerations into their operating processes and practices?

In recent years, the UK has suffered a number of low sophistication terror attacks at public places, in addition to the devastation of larger scale atrocities such as that at the Manchester Arena in 2017. We have also seen a notable change in the terrorist threat, with a much broader focus towards any person, in any way, at any place and without notice, making the opportunity for detection more difficult. Whilst we are still focussing on high profile sites we are also looking at ways in which we can ensure that all venues and public spaces are suitably educated and supported, to help strengthen their protection and be better prepared to respond to such an atrocity in the unlikely event of it occurring, whilst knowing what to do should such an incident take place.

Current and emerging Home Office Policy is driving the core mission to keep people safe and aims to better protect our public places from terrorism. A whole system approach is being adopted to include incorporating protection and preparedness opportunities and outcomes to support all business sectors where there could be an impact on local venues and public spaces. This presents us with the opportunity to support wider industry and business on better protecting everyone from terrorism.

In addition the Home Office have recently published a draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, also known as Martyn’s Law. Martyn’s Law will enhance public safety by ensuring there is better preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks through the protection of public venues and events. The Bill imposes certain proportionate requirements on premises/events which will lead to better, and more, consistent, protective security across the UK.

We at the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) have produced public guidance which covers a number of protective security and preparedness themes including physical, personnel, cyber and personal security that supports and helps give guidance on how different sectors can act to help make their businesses, institutions, organisations and settings, safer. This guidance is free and primarily aimed at those who own or run businesses, organisations, amenities or utilities.

It is as important now as it has ever been to embed good protective security and preparedness principles into business and industry, especially where we can directly impact on the safety and security of venues, public spaces and public events including bingo venues.

What is the ultimate aim?

To provide organisations and businesses with free protective security and preparedness opportunities for them to support the safety and security of their business, employees and customers.

NaCTSO are delivering a number of 1 hour, Workshop Wednesday Webinars highlighting the free protective security advice and guidance offerings provided by NaCTSO. The sessions cover the entire ProtectUK ecosystem of our free information platform, App and award winning e-Learning course, drawing upon speakers from industry and NaCTSO to explore the case for each. The sessions also provide ways in which you can deploy these digital offerings, which are all free for your organisation.

To find out more and for free practical advice:
Visit ProtectUK at www.ProtectUK.police.uk and sign up to receive the latest news, guidance and upcoming events. The ProtectUK website and App is the online resource for free training, advice and guidance aimed at helping organisations and the public.

Do the award winning online ACT Awareness E-Learning, it takes 45 minutes and once completed you will have a better understanding of the current terrorist threat and learn about the best practices to help counter terrorism and increase your security awareness which could help in other areas such as loss prevention.

Get the ProtectUK App, which provides potentially life-saving advice and the steps to take in the event of a terrorist attack. It details what is required to help protect your staff, customers and members of the public, making sure organisations are adequately prepared for any eventuality.