Author: Alison Waters – Commercial Placement Manager, Aston Lark

A Duty to Protect

Nobody is likely to forget the terrible events of May 22nd 2017 in Manchester, when a suicide bomber killed 22 innocent people and injured well over 100 others leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

In the five and a half years since the attack, the mother of one of the victims has tirelessly campaigned for a change in the law to place more onus on venue operators to have procedures in place to help protect members of the public.

Known as ‘Martyn’s Law’, this has been approved following a period of government consultation and it will become law at some point during 2023. The law will be known as Protect Duty and it will place requirements on a range of venues and publicly accessible locations to improve their security, staff awareness, and training to ensure that they know what action to take in the event of a terrorist incident or suspicious activity.

The latest information from the government’s website is here: Martyn’s Law Factsheet  - Home Office in the media ( It is important that you familiarise yourself with not only the requirements and how they may affect you, but also where you can go for help.


Will I be affected?

You are likely to need to take some action if: you operate a business such as an entertainment and leisure venue, a retail outlet, or are in the hospitality sector; or if you are a larger venue such as a museum, gallery, or sports ground; or if you are a visitor attraction then. If you are running temporary events or operate places of worship, health centres and hospitals, or education and learning settings then you will also need to make changes to comply with the new law.

The changes won’t apply to everyone in the same way as the Government is making this a proportionate measure relative to the type of activity, location setting, and occupancy numbers.  This tiered approach will ensure that the public can be assured that their safety is a priority whilst, at the same time, not placing an undue burden on business owners and venue operators.

While this isn’t yet law in the UK, it is vital that businesses and venues start to prepare now. Once the law is implemented, potentially as early as late spring, there will likely be an inspectorate who will seek to ensure compliance with the Duty and to make sure businesses are supported with education and advice.


What do I need to do?

There are a number of things you can do now and places you can go to for help and support.

Protect UK | ProtectUK 

This is an online platform which has been designed to support everyone looking at ways to enhance their security and aid understanding. It has been developed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, the Home Office, and Pool Re, and provides practical guidance, advice, and training from expert sources. It’s free to use and has up to date information and resources to help you gain an understanding of what you need to do to be ready for this change in the law.

Local Authority

Your local authority will already have a counter-terrorism plan and there is support available to help you understand the risks locally and how you can mitigate them. 

Risk Management advice

At Aston Lark, we are committed to helping our clients get ready for Protect Duty and we are here to support you get started, with risk assessments and practical advice on enhancing your security.

We’re on hand to help! Contact Aston Lark to find out more today on 020 7543 2807 or visit our website –