Manchester City Council is preparing to introduce new licensing rules for public venues to support counter-terrorism policing.
Sports and music arenas, cinemas and other public sites will be asked to adopt new measures to assess the threat of a terrorist attack, take steps to prepare for it and devise emergency measures to deal with an atrocity.
The move follows a campaign by Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, one of 22 people killed in the 2017 Manchester bombing, to legislate for ‘Martyn’s Law’, which would see venues forced to make tougher security checks.
Last year the Prime Minister pledged to move ahead with the proposed legislation, which would see a change in how UK venues are licensed and the requirements on them to prevent and be prepared to act swiftly in the event of a terrorist incident.
Ahead of any statutory progress within Westminster, Manchester City Council is set to lead the way by adopting the new licensing rules for licensed premises to have emergency measures in place to deal with terrorist attacks.
Without legislation, initial implementation will be voluntary, with clubs and venues in Manchester being asked to adopt the new anti-terror measures as licensed venues cannot be compelled to implement the law. However, the council said it may impose counter-terrorism conditions on new licences or where a licence is being varied.
While the council will be looking to venues to take the lead by drawing up plans, the new rules will require a review of the way the council licenses premises and how existing rules can be used to make venues improve their security through specific counter-terrorism measures such as ensuring venues have a plan in place and staff training.
The new rules are expected to come into effect within the Manchester City region later this year following public consultation.
Ms Murray continues to lobby the government for legislative progress of Martyn’s Law. It is hoped the law will play a critical role in counter-terrorism policing, requiring public venues to do more than prepare for accidental threats such as fire by setting the standards for owners of public venues to safeguard the freedom of citizens to enjoy public events and venues safely and without fear. This also includes proactively managing the risk and vulnerability to those who seek to perpetrate acts of violence and terrorism.