UK live music industry trade body LIVE has urged the government to rethink the Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill - aka Martyn’s Law - which was included in the King’s Speech earlier this week. If passed, the legislation would require venues to put in place new safety measures to protect attendees of shows from terrorist attacks.
The proposals were developed in the wake of the 2017 attack on the Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande show, which killed 22 people, including Martyn Hett for whom the Bill is named. It requires venues to scale up preparedness for terrorist attacks, dependent on the size of the venue and type of event taking place.
Earlier this year the Home Affairs Select Committee published a report warning that, as written, the bill would “place a significant and disproportionate burden on smaller venues”. It also said that it would ultimately fail “to ensure adequate safety measures at all public events at risk of terror attacks”, thus failing short of its aim.
“The live music sector fully supports cooperative efforts to make venues as safe as possible for fans”, says Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE. “Venues and festivals throughout the country are already working extensively with relevant authorities and continuously review security arrangements”.
“We share the assessment of the Home Affairs Committee which identified serious concerns about the proportionality of the Bill and a range of unfinished provisions”, he goes on. “The Committee’s report vindicated our members’ view that the draft Bill is impractical, misses its core aim, and, through the excessive penalties it proposes, would create existential risk for live music venues”.
“Government must urgently redesign the Bill to ensure it is workable, places no disproportionate burdens on venues and crucially delivers greater reassurance and safety for concertgoers”, he concludes. “We will continue to engage with government and parliamentarians to ensure the Bill is appropriately revised and strengthened as it goes through parliament”.
LIVE has three key concerns surrounding the Bill. First, that it was rushed through the scrutiny stage without a proper impact assessment, leaving it in a “sub-optimal state”. Secondly that it also does not consider the role of existing licensing legislation in protecting the public. And finally that restriction notices and fines that would be imposed on venues seen not to adhere to the new law are not proportionate and put venues - particularly smaller venues - at risk of permanent closure.