As part of the UK Government’s ongoing commitment to improving the safety and security of the public in public areas, on the 26th February, the Home Office launched a consultation. It is open to anyone that might be affected by a “Protect Duty,” and will remain open for responses until the 2nd July.
Protect Duty

What is a “Protect Duty?”

Currently (with a few limited exceptions such as for certain sports grounds) there is no legislative requirement to consider or implement security measures at publically accessible locations. This consultation is exploring how the Government might be able to use legislation in order to enhance the safety of publically accessible locations – which if implemented, would be entitled a Protect Duty.

Does this affect me and/or my business?

For a significant proportion of our clients, the answer is likely to be ‘yes’. A Protect Duty is likely to affect anyone who is responsible for a publically accessible location. This is defined as:

“Any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.”

In reality, then, this consultation encompasses a huge breadth of everyday locations and businesses such as shopping centres, hotels, pubs, retails stores, school, universities, hospitals etc.

Can I respond/be involved in the consultation?

Again, more than likely, yes. The consultation is keen to hear the views of anyone and everyone that a Protect Duty is likely to affect. The questions in the consultation online can be answered here.

How might this affect me/my business going forward?

Following the closure of the consultation, the Government will draw up a Regulatory Impact Assessment, before ultimately making a decision on whether to implement legislation or not. Currently, however, the Duty is likely to apply in three main areas:

  1. Owners/operators of publically accessible venues with a capacity greater than 100 people
  2. Organisations who employ more than 250 people that operate at publically accessible locations
  3. Used to improve security and outcomes in public spaces in general.

If falling under the scope of the duty, the likely requirements on businesses would include the following;

  • Using Government information and advice to consider threats to the public and staff at locations they own or operate
  • Assessing the impact of these risks across their business and estate, and thereby taking “reasonable practicable” protective security and organisational preparedness measures.

In summary, for businesses in scope, should legislation be implemented, there will be a legal requirement on that business to take reasonably practicable steps to protect against security threats.

How might Gallagher be able to assist?

Gallagher’s Crisis Management division, with its breadth of security experience, already has a number of services and tools designed to assist clients in mitigating physical threats to their businesses and locations. We are watching the progression of this consultation closely, and will look to advise our clients accordingly depending on the outcome of the consultation.

Source: protect duty consultation (