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Manchester attack victims' call for law forcing venues to increase security considered by government

Home Office U-turn as mother of bombing victim and terror survivors demand change


New laws to force large venues to increase security measures in the wake of the Manchester Arena Bombing are being considered by the government.

The Home Office said it was looking at "whether and how further legislation" could increase the use of safety checks, such as bag searches and body scanners.

The mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester attack, has headed a long running campaign for a law to force the change.

Figen Murray was to join other victims of terror attacks to launch a fresh campaign on Wednesday.

"We don't want any other family to go through what we have when so many of these attacks could be prevented or their impact reduced," she said.

"It cannot be right that venues are held legally responsible for how many toilets they have, but not for basic security measures that could prevent a terror attack.

"I named this campaign Martyn's Law but passing it would be a tribute to all those who died in Manchester and beyond."

The government initially said there were "no plans to mandate specific security measures" in response to a petition signed by more than 23,000 people demanding obligatory checks at large venues.

But it has now indicated that Martyn's Law, which is also supported by the Survivors Against Terror group, will be formally considered.

Ben Wallace, the security minister, said concerts, shopping centres and sporting events should be "enjoyed without fear".

"Just as we share enjoyment of these communal places and spaces so we need to share concern and responsibility for keeping them as safe as possible," he added. "That means owners, operators and public authorities stepping up and making full use of the wide range of information and advice available to support them.

"The government is also considering whether and how further legislation could support, or indeed compel, effective and proportionate protective security.

"We would very much welcome input in from Ms Murray and others campaigning for Martyn's Law in this work and I look forward to discussing it with her soon."

There is currently no law compelling venues to implement counterterrorism measures beyond standard health and safety legislation, although guidance and training is provided by a national network of specialist police security advisers.

The national Contest counterterror strategy includes security in crowded places and police review arrangements for specific events.

The new law would require the owners of public spaces and venues to take counterterrorism advice, conduct vulnerability assessments and put a plan in place to mitigate any vulnerabilities.


Article by Lizzie Dearden. Independent

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