• Incoming 'Martyn's Law' legislation, due to come into force later this year, is set to impact thousands of UK businesses
  • However of the firms that will need to comply, only just over half (56%) are aware of the law despite them potentially facing fines of up to £18 million or 5% of their worldwide revenue if they fail to comply with the legislation
  • This lack of awareness means just a quarter (23%) of firms are fully confident that they will be able to fulfil the requirements of Martyn's Law when it comes into force
  • A very small minority (16%) of organisations say they are fully confident they currently have the safety procedures being recommended in place now, in advance of the incoming law which is designed to protect customers in the event of a terrorist attack
  • The threat of terrorism in the UK is currently rated 'substantial', meaning an attack is likely
Many UK businesses unprepared to meet incoming anti-terrorism laws

With new terrorism preparedness legislation expected to become UK law later this year, many businesses are significantly unprepared for the measures.

Martyn's Law will require businesses to consider the types of attacks that could occur at their premises and take action to help reduce potential harm to the public. Businesses required to comply with the law include any venue with a capacity of 100 and above such as pubs, restaurants, sports stadiums, cinemas, theatres and museums. Additionally the law will apply to organisers of public events where there will be over 100 people such as festivals, charity fundraising events, such as runs or bike rides, and fetes.

However, research from insurance broker and risk management company Gallagher has revealed that just 23% of firms surveyed are fully confident that they will be able to meet the requirements of the incoming law.

Once Martyn's Law comes into effect, businesses with a capacity of over 100 will be required to introduce a set of measures to mitigate threats, such as deploying security procedures and training staff. Businesses with a capacity of over 800 people will be required to regularly undertake risk assessments, develop detailed incident response plans and implement physical security measures such as CCTV, intruder alarms and secure fencing. Gallagher's research suggests businesses could be in for a shock once the law is passed, with less than half (43%) saying that they understand enhanced security measures to be a requirement under the new law.

There could be severe financial consequences for failing to comply as the UK Government is proposing potential fines for enhanced tier premises (with capacity for over 800 people) of up to £18 million or 5% of an operator's worldwide revenue, as well as sanctions and restriction notices. With just a quarter (25%) of firms strongly agreeing that the UK Government has been clear on what the requirements of Martyn's Law will be, businesses could be at risk of financial loss due to a lack of clarity around what is expected of them.

Although the final detail is still being worked through, it is likely that businesses will be required to provide specialist training to staff so that they know how to respond in the event of a terrorist incident and lead customers to safety. Just one in three (28%) businesses currently provide their staff with this type of training, with the majority (55%) of venue managers saying they plan to introduce it over the next 12 months.

Larger operators will likely be required to appoint dedicated staff that are responsible for overseeing risk assessments and implementing security measures. Currently just over a third (36%) of hospitality operators have a dedicated team or person in charge of assessing terrorism risks, with four in ten (39%) planning to recruit in the next year and a concerning quarter (25%) not planning to make an appointment, despite the incoming law.

Less than half (44%) of businesses have enlisted external support with assessing public safety risks related to terrorism, the research revealed, despite this requiring specialist knowledge and skills. This is probable to be a particular problem with smaller venues which are less likely to have the in-house capabilities necessary to prepare and protect against terrorism threats. When asked what security measures they already had in place, 49% of venues have floor plans showing emergency exit routes, 44% have incident response plans should an attack happen and just over half (55%) have security alarms.

Dominic Roe, managing director and hospitality sector specialist at Gallagher, said: "Martyn's Law will mean businesses will have substantial responsibility for protecting public safety and it is therefore rather concerning to see that such a low number of impacted firms are fully confident in their ability to meet these requirements, when they are expected to become law this year.

"This data clearly suggests that hospitality operators could fall significantly short of some of the expected requirements, with few firms having well shaped plans in place to meet the requirements. Given the specialist nature of understanding what needs to be implemented, I would urge firms to consider working with a security and risk management specialist, like Gallagher, which can help interpret what the law will mean for each individual venue and ensure that businesses are compliant. We are already working with thousands of businesses in the UK's hospitality sector by helping them manage the risks they face and protect their businesses and we can help firms prepare for Martyn's Law by assessing their level of risk and how they can keep their businesses, staff and customers safe."