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Kings Speech Protect Duty Update

Following the slightly surprising announcement in the Kings’ opening of Parliament speech back in November, the events industry still remains slightly in the dark about the proposals for the new Protect Duty. Whilst the team here at Event Safety Plan support entirely the need to keep audience members and event workers safe at all times, there is widespread concern that the powers which are being discussed are still some way from coming into law – and when they do, that there is sufficient information and training available to ensure that levels of compliance are high.  We strongly support all of the work that is ongoing to turn these recommendations into law.

A source within the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism unit informed us last week that the legislation is currently unlikely to be enforced ‘until at least 2025’ and that they know ‘as much about it’ as the ESP team do.

Current belief from organisations such as NOEA (The National Outdoor Events Association) is that there will be significant changes to the proposals before they are made legally binding – and there are calls from many that the Licensing Act and Safety Advisory Group (SAG) processes are already a suitable framework for ensuring the safety of visitors to large scale events and venues – so why not use those.

The proposed legislation will require places of assembly (events, venues, activity centres) to “fulfil necessary but proportionate steps according to their capacity” to reduce the chances of, and the impact of a terrorist attack. Premises and events with a capacity of 800 or above will be in the enhanced tier, while premises with a capacity of 100 to 799 will be in the standard tier.

It is expected that further consultation will be launched to ensure that the requirements of the legislation are proportionate to the size and scale of the venues that fall into each of the categories to ensure that compliance can be met, without being burdensome to smaller and not-for-profit venues and events.

The current legal framework and language seems to be focussed on permanent venues but it is also expected that safety at temporary events (such as festivals and concerts) will be swept up into the requirements.

Furthermore there are repeated calls for venues and event organisers NOT to spend money on Protect Duty training or consultancy YET – as there is insufficient information in the public domain – however there is always the encouragement to consider what implications there are for bringing large groups of people together and that sufficient risk assessments and security arrangements have been made.