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The UK’s new anti-terror law will also symbolize a mom’s love for her gay son

The UK’s new anti-terror law will also symbolize a mom’s love for her gay son

  • Martyn Hett was among 22 people killed in the 2017 Ariana Grande gig bombing.
Martyn Hett.

Security guards could carry out airport-style screening of people attending music gigs and sporting events, under new UK counter-terror laws.

Figen Murray lost her son Martyn Hett, when a suicide bomber attacked Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester Arena in 2017.

The gay 29-year-old from Stockport, northwest England, was one of 22 people the bomb blast killed on 22 May 2017.

Since then, Murray has campaigned for mandatory security checks at major sporting and entertainment venues.

Now the UK government is planning to introduce counter-terror laws to make sure those checks happen.

Until now, individual venue operators have decided how much security to use.

But under the government’s proposals for ‘Martyn’s Law’ the venue would have to asses the risk of a terror attack. The UK Home Office says they will then have to take ‘proportionate and reasonable measures to prepare for and protect the public from such an attack’.

This could include more physical security, training, response plans and exercises from staff on how to react to an attack.

Mom Figen Murray welcomes Martyn’s Law

Martyn’s mom Figen Murray said the proposed law will make everyone a ‘bit safer’ and ‘save lives’.

She added: ‘Public venues have all sorts of obligations from fire prevention to health and safety. But until now there has been no duty to protect their customers.

‘Martyn’s Law will change that. Most of us already thought such a law existed. It’s a common sense step that will save lives in the future.’

Despite the lack of legislation, the UK, like many other countries around the world, has introduced multiple counter-terror measures in response to attacks over the last few years.

London’s bridges now have crash barriers to stop vehicles mounting the pavement and driving into pedestrians. This follows attacks on both London Bridge and Westminster Bridge.

Likewise, city squares and entertainment venues have installed physical barriers, including concrete blocks to prevent similar attacks.

Major airports have moved passenger drop-off zones away from terminal buildings to reduce casualties if a vehicle explodes.

And the UK’s financial capital – the Square Mile of London – has trauma packs distributed in key venues. Security staff now learn battlefield first aid so they can use the packs to save lives.

The government will consult with businesses and the wider community on Martyn’s Law this spring. Legislation will then follow.

It is likely to focus on larger venues and public spaces rather than smaller businesses.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to increase police numbers, compensating for those his Conservative party has cut since it came to power in 2010.