UK terror bill gets insurance backing

The CEO of the UK’s terrorism reinsurance pool has welcomed the publication of the country’s new draft terrorism bill.

Tom Clementi, (pic) CEO of Pool Re said the new bill will enhance the protection of thousands of commercial premises across the country.

The draft bill will be known as Martyn’s Law, after Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack of 2017.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak and the home secretary Suella Braverman set out how the new law will seek to improve protective and organisational preparedness at a wide range of premises across the UK.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, known as Martyn’s Law (previously Protect Duty), will:

  • Improve public safety, enhancing national security and reduce the risk to the public from terrorism by the protection of public premises and events.
  • Place a requirement on those responsible for certain premises and events to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures.
  • Ensure responsible persons are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack.

The draft Bill, which may apply to over 300,000 different premises across the UK, sets out how qualifying premises will be divided into two tiers with particular duties applying to premises in each tier. Standard tier premises which have a capacity of between 100-799 people will be required to undertake low-cost activities such as ensuring that relevant workers are given appropriate training, while the enhanced tier which applies to premises with a capacity of 800 or over, will require an enhanced terrorism risk assessment as well as the implementation of a security plan.

Clementi said: “The government’s announcement that it has published its draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill is a crucial step in enhancing the protection of the UK’s publicly accessible locations from terrorist attacks. Pool Re will support the government and insurance industry with the implementation of Martyn’s Law, by providing information and education regarding what businesses and organisations need to do to prepare for its introduction.

“We would again like to pay tribute to the inspiring work of Figen Murray OBE, Martyn’s mother, whose tireless campaigning on this issue has reminded us of the real-life impact of terrorism in public venues and who has strongly encouraged the UK government to legislate.”

The draft bill will be subject to pre – legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee in the coming months in order to allow for further engagement and refining of the legislation.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat said: “The threat from terrorism is enduring. In recent years, we have seen terrorists target the public at a broad range of locations, causing deaths and casualties amongst innocent people going about their everyday lives,

“This is a significant step forward for Martyn’s Law and our ability to further protect the public. I welcome the committee’s scrutiny to ensure that this legislation is proportionate while enhancing our national security.”

British Retail Consortium assistant director, Graham Wynn, added: “Given the number of retail premises, Martyn’s Law is particularly relevant to retailers. We have appreciated the Home Office’s willingness to make adjustments to the bill – such as the move to make capacity the basis to meet changing needs – as well as make it more practical and proportionate.

“It will be important to ensure all operational details work effectively – such as how the tiers operate at the margins. After closer examination of the detail, we look forward to the opportunity to provide additional suggestions as appropriate during the Parliamentary process.”