The majority of museums, galleries and heritage organisations are unaware of the forthcoming Protect Duty Legislation, according to new research.

The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill is known as Martyn’s Law, named after Martyn Hett, who was among 21 other victims in the Manchester Arena attack.

In May, the Government published a draft bill for pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

While the requirements and scope are not yet finalised, it is expected to become law in late 2023 or early 2024 and will affect organisations including museums, galleries, and heritage organisations.

Research commissioned by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical asked decision makers at 500 museums, galleries and heritage attractions about their awareness of the upcoming law.

It suggests that three in five, or 61%, of decision makers at these public premises lack awareness of the forthcoming legislation; with 54% reporting that they were unaware and a further 7% unsure if they were aware.

Among the respondents to the research were decision makers at 100 museums, 100 theatres, 100 castles, 100 stately homes and 100 galleries.

The legislation is set to place new requirements for preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack, with a two tier system dependent on maximum capacity. It is expected to place new requirements on the owners and operators of certain locations to increase their preparedness for, and protection from, a terrorist attack.

Among the new requirements expected is staff training, raising among staff, and the completion of a preparedness plan.

The research suggests that of those already aware of the upcoming bill, some organisations are investing in additional security measures, including installing CCTV, and providing staff training to prepare. Some organisations also report having developed security protocols, hired external security consultants, and set aside budgets to get ready for the forthcoming legislation.

Faith Kitchen, customer segment director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Our research shows the majority of heritage organisations aren’t aware of the forthcoming Martyn’s Law. Ensuring the safety of heritage venues is paramount. We encourage heritage organisations to familiarise themselves with the concepts and requirements of the forthcoming legislation.”

More information on Martyn’s Law can be found in the Home Office factsheet.

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