Martyn's Law is a proposed piece of legislation to better protect the British public from terrorism in any place or space to which they have access. Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett who tragically died along with 22 others when a terrorist detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in May 2017, has headed the proposal. Here, we look at how implementing a readiness programme can improve your venue security and boost your adherence to Martyn's Law.
- Engagement. Readiness testing encourages you to think about possible weaknesses. If you haven't undertaken a readiness exercise before, you can imagine it as a slightly more 'live' risk management process that you undertake nearer to an event (or maybe annually for a venue). It sits between your long-term risks and your event-time checks to test your processes, people and equipment, and make sure you and your team have what you need to welcome visitors.
- Collaboration. If you begin your readiness planning a number of months before your big event, or you are in 365 planning for your venue, you have time to be collaborative. Build out your readiness programme broadly across your organisation and in partnership with SAGs (Safety Advisory Groups) and local authorities. These different perspectives are essential, as well as being a requirement of Martyn's Law. You'll be relying on these groups on event day, so it is essential that they are fully integrated into your readiness plan.
- Action. For your readiness programme to be effective, you must test, learn and act - it is no good doing only one or two of those things! For example, Martyn's Law proposes a three-step plan to respond to terrorist incidents, called Guide, Shelter, Communicate. So test that plan, learn from what went well and what did not, and act to make the plan function more effectively when you test it again. When you identify a weakness, take action and resolve it.
- Training. Readiness is a training exercise too. It's about testing anything that impacts on the management of your venue: processes, places, equipment, and people. Let's take the above Guide, Shelter, Communicate example again. Use the readiness testing as a training exercise for your staff to carry out the processes that you have devised in that plan. Especially when introducing new policies, allow the staff who will be working on event day to get familiar with this work and build up experience.
- Accountability. In short, planning, delivering and recording a full readiness plan gives you the ability to say you have planned and delivered a full readiness plan! If you manage your readiness programme collaboratively online using readiness software, you will have an indelible audit trail recording every test, lesson and action. This will allow you to be accountable in your counter-terrorism efforts, and scrutinise the data to learn lessons for next time.
Building a readiness programme that follows these 5 steps will help you follow a more intelligent and informed approach to your venue security. Martyn's Law is yet to be passed as legislation - although it is looking very likely - but it provides a framework that is well worth following. Go and read our larger introduction to Martyn's Law and how venues can follow its guidelines before, during and after your event.