• Contact Us

The Protect Duty - Considerations for Universities

on Thursday, 02 March 2023.

The Government has announced new laws to keep people safe with a view to scaling up preparedness for, and protection from, terrorist attacks.

Draft legislation due to be published this Spring, the Protect Duty, also referred to as 'Martyn's Law', will impose duties to improve measures to keep others safe and ensure better protection against the ongoing and evolving threat of terrorism and terrorist attacks.

The duties will apply widely and across a range of organisations which are responsible for publicly accessible locations and where qualifying activities take place. This will include high capacity locations used for purposes such as entertainment and leisure, retail, food and drink, museums and galleries, sports grounds but it will also apply to places of worship, schools and universities.

What Does This Mean For Universities?

The proposed duties will apply to eligible locations which are either a building (including groups of buildings used for the same purposes, eg, a campus or a location) and events (including temporary events) that have a defined boundary.

The duties will set two tiers - standard and enhanced - based on maximum capacity (100+ and 800+ respectively). It is anticipated that the majority of university events will require the standard tier to apply, although we anticipate that certain events or activities such as university balls and graduation ceremonies may fall within the enhanced tier.

What Will We Need to Do?

It is anticipated that the standard tier - which applies to locations with a maximum capacity of over 100 - will focus on "simply yet effective activities to improve protective security and preparedness".

This will include training, raising awareness, sharing information and risk assessing events with the aim of ensuring that staff are prepared to respond quickly to evolving situations and have confidence in making quick, effective decisions which have the potential to save lives. Examples of good practice also include simple steps such as establishing procedures to lock doors to delay intruders' progress and access whilst guiding staff and others to alternative exits.

Many HEIs will have already considered security risks as part of their existing risk assessment process such that significant further work is not required.

However, universities should be aware that the Government also intends to establish an inspection and enforcement body with the power to impose sanctions. This means it is important to understand the new regime and to take steps to ensure compliance now.

When Will This Come Into Force?

Whilst a date has not been confirmed, it is likely that the Protect Duty will be implemented later this year, with guidance for universities anticipated shortly.

What Can We Do in the Meantime to Prepare?

Universities should start to review their current policies and procedures, in conjunction with the free expert advice, training and guidance via ProtectUK. Further information can also be located at Martyn’s Law Factsheet  - Home Office in the media (blog.gov.uk).

For more information or advice, please contact Bradley Evans in our Regulatory Compliance team on 07880 335 842 or complete the form below.

Get in Touch

First name(*)
Please enter your first name.

Last name(*)
Invalid Input

Email address(*)
Please enter a valid email address

Please insert your telephone number.

How would you like us to contact you?

Invalid Input

How can we help you?(*)
Please limit text to alphanumeric and the following special characters: £.%,'"?!£$%^&*()_-=+:;@#`

See our privacy page to find out how we use and protect your data.

Invalid Input