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IFSEC Insider, formerly IFSEC Global, is the leading online community and news platform for security and fire safety professionals.
January 21, 2022

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Protect Duty

Security industry responds to Government’s Protect Duty consultation findings

The Government recently published its response to the Protect Duty public consultation, which ran from February to July last year seeking views from stakeholders on how the incoming legislation can make the public safer at publicly accessible locations.  

The Protect Duty, previously known as ‘Martyn’s Law’, will be a new piece of anti-terrorism legislation, designed to ensure the public is better protected from a “multifaceted, diverse and continually evolving” terror threat. It follows a campaign from Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett who sadly lost his life in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017, who has highlighted the need to improve security standards in crowded public spaces and venues. Here, IFSEC Global explores the industry’s response to the findings.

Marshalls Landscape Protection

Marshall’s Landscape Protection, part of the Marshall’s Group, has welcomed the Government’s response to the Protect Duty consultation.

Paul Haggerty, Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Business Development Manager, Marshalls Landscape Protection, comments: “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 place. With many years’ experience of developing fully-crash tested solutions for preventing accidental and intentional vehicle collisions, wea are able to advise on designing proportionate and cost-effective public safety schemes that will enable organisations to comply with the new legislation.”

Axis Communications

Steve Kenny, Industry Liaison, Architecture and Engineering, Axis Communications

Industry Liaison, Architecture and Engineering, Axis Communications, Steve Kenny, comments: “Axis welcomes the response from the Government and, indeed, from the majority of respondents to the consultation who support tougher security measures to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks. It is clear now that the government intends to take forward legislation to create a culture of security, with a consistency of application and a greater certainty of effect.

“Axis is not surprised that no mention is made of the use of security technology directly; Axis maintained from the outset that physical security systems would not be a central requirement of the Protect Duty. Of note, however, were the very strong views expressed regarding the need for accountability, as well as the majority’s view that a threshold of 100 persons or more should determine venues in scope of the Duty.

“And it is these two areas that our physical security technology solutions are best aligned. Technology is a force multiplier which can improve operational efficiency, accelerate decision making and, most importantly, help businesses that cater to larger footfalls demonstrate compliance.

“While not a substitute for practical due diligence and sound staff training processes, we strongly believe that a combined system of physical and behavioural interventions remains best practice where such an approach is deemed necessary following a risk assessment.

“What is critical, above all, is that businesses make the right choices regarding existing set-ups and new projects. Greenfield developments, in particular, would warrant a closer examination of the legislative approach now in process in order to plan for compliance. While selecting appropriate security tools should not be an onerous process, making the right investments will ensure compliance with the Duty and deliver the highest levels of physical security protection.”


MD, UK and Ireland, Siobhan Meikle, comments: “The Government’s response is a positive step forward but in the proposals that follow, there’s an opportunity to go even further by making sure legislation encourages individuals and businesses that have a protect duty to employ emergency systems that are more adaptive and interconnected so that people are alerted to threats and guided away from them more quickly and safely.

“We know that inaction or the ‘bystander effect’ is a real issue in attacks that happen in high density venues – with some people not responding to alerts. The first 60 seconds of an alert sounding are the most critical because the time it takes for people to recognise a threat is the most variable in an evacuation. In such an event, shortening people’s response to an evacuation or stay put strategy can save lives.

“People respond more quickly when they are given rich information and when a physical reaction is stimulated – for example through live directives telling people about the nature of the threat and pulsating emergency lighting drawing people to safe evacuation points. Animating exit signage and making it as visible as possible is also crucial to help people with hearing disabilities who might otherwise not be able to hear audio directives. Evacuation technologies must work for everyone.

“The interconnected technology exists to adapt to threats in real time – for example to direct people away from routes where incidents have taken place. The safest exit isn’t necessarily the nearest one.

“As any future legislation makes its way through parliament, we hope that the opportunity is taken to encourage businesses to implement layered, connected and adaptive emergency systems that will optimise the safety of their venues”.

‘Secure by Default’ in the Age of Converged Security: Insights from IFSEC 2019

From data security to the risks and opportunities of artificial intelligence, the conversations at IFSEC International shape future security strategies and best practices. This eBook brings you exclusive insights from these conversations, covering:

  • A Global Political and Security Outlook from Frank Gardner OBE
  • Surveillance Camera Day: Tony Porter launches ‘Secure by Default’ requirements for video surveillance systems
  • Using Drones to Secure the Future
  • Autonomous Cars and AI: Relocating human incompetence from drivers to security engineers?
  • The Ethical and Geopolitical Implications of AI and Machine Learning

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