Public safety in the spotlight as government responds to Protect Duty consultation

Marshalls Landscape Protection, part of the Marshalls Group, has welcomed the Government’s response to the Protect Duty consultation, which seeks to improve safety in public spaces.

The legislation, which should come into effect later this year, places a new responsibility on venue owners and event organisers to ensure reasonable and proportionate measures are implemented to protect visitors from harm.

The move comes following pressure from victims’ groups, including the Martyn’s Law campaign, named after Martyn Hett, who was tragically killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

While exact details of the legislation are still to be released, Home Secretary Priti Patel emphasised in a statement issued on Monday 10th January, that the bill would “strike the right balance between public safety, while not placing an excessive burden on small businesses.” This echoes views voiced in the consultation, which felt that requirements should reflect the size of the organisation, with larger venues bearing a proportionate responsibility to protect their users.

Currently, there is no legislative requirement for venue owners or organisations to implement security measures, yet 70 per cent of the consultation respondents believed that those responsible for publicly accessible spaces should take appropriate steps to protect from potential attacks – which includes ensuring staff are adequately trained to respond appropriately.

Paul Haggerty, Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Business Development Manager from Marshalls Landscape Protection, commented: “This is a positive step forward in improving the safety of all public spaces, but we understand that many local authorities and business owners will be uncertain about how this new legislation will affect them. We also recognise that overly fortifying public spaces is a concern, as this can actually have a negative effect on public perceptions of safety.

“However, there are numerous non-intrusive safety solutions that can be installed in public areas without having a detrimental effect on the look and feel of the space. With many years’ experience of developing fully crash-tested solutions for preventing accidental and intentional vehicle collisions, we are able to advise on designing proportionate and cost-effective public safety schemes that will enable organisations to comply with the new legislation.”

To support stakeholders in understanding their new obligations around the Protect Duty, the Home Office has announced it will be collaborating with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) and Pool Reinsurance to deliver an interactive platform to provide advice, guidance and e-learning. The site is undergoing user testing ahead of its formal launch later this year.

Working with professional industry experts will help stakeholders specify the most suitable safety solutions for every scheme and budget. Marshalls specialise in creating design-led landscape protection innovations, providing proven assurance and peace of mind that the chosen products will effectively protect people and property in the event that an incident did happen.

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