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Boris Backs Figen Murray’s “Martyn’s Law”

Martyn’s Law, named after Martyn Hett, a victim of the Manchester Arena terrorist atrocity on 22 May 2017 and championed by his mother Figen Murray who follows the FSOA on Twitter, has received the green light from Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Security Minister, Brandon Lewis and it looks destined to reach the statute books.

Previously Manchester City Council gave Martyn’s Law its support stating that it would be “enshrined in future licensing regulations”. Ahead of the announcement, Figen had also been in dialogue with Stockport Councillor and former Mayor, Wendy Meikle, who was keen to add her support both in Stockport and the national arena.

The five key features of Martyn’s Law are as follows:

  • A requirement that spaces and places to which the public have access engage with freely available counter-terrorism advice and training.
  • A requirement for those places to conduct vulnerability assessments of their operating places and spaces.
  • A requirement for those places to mitigate the risks created by the vulnerabilities.
  • A requirement for those places to have a counter-terrorism plan.
  • A requirement for local authorities to plan for the threat of terrorism.

Many of us in the Football Safety industry already have this at the forefront of our minds especially as the main threats we now face have moved on from fire and crowd disorder and been replaced by terrorism, inside and outside our stadia. Most of us have assessed our vulnerabilities and put in place measures to mitigate them.

However, we are still faced with the fact that the majority of the people coming to football matches arrive in the last half hour ahead of kick-off and the need to search bags and bodies places enormous pressure on our stewards and security personnel in order to get them in on time. Whereas in the past we have probably used the concept of “routine random searching” or “profile-based searching”, which meant that a number of late-arrivers were not searched almost all clubs now search everyone, even if it means that the same late-arrivers miss the start of the match. I know this has happened at a number of high-profile football grounds and over the last year or so there has been a re-education process for those who arrive late.

Martyn’s Law is destined to have a major impact on smaller venues around the country. As the number of SIA-rated security staff reduces largely due to the pay they receive, which is depressed more by the demands of promoters rather than the suppliers, and non-renewers, the demand for pre-event searching will increase considerably, placing strong pressure on the security companies, including our Platinum Partners, Showsec International, who seem to be in constant demand. It could be argued, for instance, that if every venue in London alone needed SIA door-licenced staff for searching, there wouldn’t be any left for the rest of the country! The major suppliers such as Showsec, G4S and Stadium appear to always be on recruitment drives, especially as the festival seasons approach.

Figen Murray has put a lot of effort and time into her campaign and being the professionals that we are in an awkward industry, we can see the reasons why and are either ahead of the game or at least in tandem with it. Keeping people safe in our stadia will always be our priority. If any of us aren’t, then it would certainly pay to implement this type of training to ensure we are in shape to meet the legislation when it appears and to be able to demonstrate to the SGSA, the SAG, Competition Safety Inspectors and more importantly the football supporters themselves, that these event security measures are in place and are there for their own safety. They will certainly form part of any future audit once it becomes law, so we should be making progress now.

Was it not City’s Chief Exec that once said “Safety vetoes everything”?

The Manchester Evening News had the following to say..

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