Interviews

Protect Duty consultation online debate

by Mark Rowe

The Association of Security Consultants (ASC) is hosting a free online debate for security people on the Home Office’s Prevent Duty consultation. Government, commercial and legal figures will speak at the event, on Monday, March 29 from 10am.

Hosted by ASC chair Joe Connell, the session will cover the proposed Duty’s aims, and give the chance to put questions to the speakers. Shaun Hipgrave, Director for Protect and Prepare at the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT), and one of the Protect Duty consultation leads, will provide background to the Protect Duty and outline what is being considered for inclusion in new legislation, besides the Home Office consultation which runs to July 2. Next speaker is Bob Eastwood, operations and security advisor at the English Football League (EFL), on the approach football clubs of the second to fourth tiers of English football, at 72 grounds.

Finally, there will be a view from the licensing and disciplinary lawyer Jeremy Phillips QC about the legal implications for organisations and individuals likely to be covered by a Protect Duty, and those advising them on security matters.

Joe Connell says: “The aim of the debate is to equip ASC members and colleagues with the facts they need before submitting their views to the consultation. The Protect Duty will have a huge impact on our profession. We need to make sure our voice is heard by government, but we also need to ensure that we, as security experts, have a clear understanding of what the duty is proposing before make our submissions.”

Duty background

The UK Government announced a proposed law requiring owners and operators of public spaces and venues to put in place measures to keep the public safe from a terrorist attack in February 2020, arising from the terrorist attacks in 2017 on, and pressure by victims’ groups such as the Martyn’s Law, set up by Figen Murray whose son was among those killed in the Manchester Arena attack of May 2017.

The new law would require venue operators to consider the risk of a terrorist attack and take ‘proportionate and reasonable measures’ to prepare for and protect the public from such an attack. This could include physical security and incident response planning, training and exercising for staff on what to do in the event of an attack.

For the consultation on the Protect Duty visit https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/protect-duty.

Picture by Mark Rowe; cordon, March 2017, after Westminster Bridge terror attack.

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