The government has today announced plans to introduce laws to protect venues and public spaces from terror attacks.

It will mean stadiums, arenas, pubs and night clubs will be legally required to bolster counter-terrorism measures like physical security and staff training. 

The announcement has been welcomed by safety campaigner Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett died in the 2017 Arena attack. 

Martyn, a popular public relations manager from Stockport, was one of 22 innocent people who lost their lives in the atrocity.

Figen has spent the last year tirelessly campaigning to introduce legislation to improve public safety to create a lasting legacy in her son's name.

Last month, Manchester City Council said the principles of Martyn's Law would become part of future licencing regulation.

And today (Monday), the government confirmed plans to enshrine counter-terrorism measures in law.

Martyn Hett

The law, for public venues and crowded spaces, will go to public consultation in the spring.

It will be known as a protect duty - a legal duty, set out in primary legislation, for venue operators and owners to consider the risk of a terrorist attack and take proportionate and reasonable measures to prepare for and protect the public from such an attack.

The government will seek views from a 'broad range' of organisations including business, public authorities, the security industry and campaign groups to finetune the details of the legislation.

"I'm happy they are taking me seriously"

"I'm happy they are taking me seriously and have decided to do something about it", Figen told the Manchester Evening News.

"They have allowed me to take this as far as possible. I have worked my socks off. It's a legacy for my son. I hope it's going to be called Martyn's Law. This is my contribution."

Figen, who is studying for a masters in counter-terrorism, said a spate of terrorism attacks over recent years has meant the law is a necessary step. 

"It's easier to radicalise people online. We need to change our response to protect the public", she said.

Figen Murray speaking at a press conference in June calling on the Government to back Martyn's Law

"It will be proportionate to the venue. I don't expect every organisation to have metal detectors - there has to be a risk assessment.

"At the moment (security) is at the discretion of the venue, it's not good enough. It has to become a law, not to get added to health and safety. Terrorism isn't going to go away - look what happened in Germany. There has to be measures put in place.

"As a customer, if I go to a venue, they need to take responsibility for their customers, to keep them safe."

Martyn's Law - championed by the Manchester Evening News - has five requirements:

Figen, who has spearheaded the campaign to introduce Martyn's Law, has had the backing of Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo Cox was murdered by a right wing extremist, and former counter terrorism national coordinator Nick Aldworth.  

She said she has already spoken to the new security minister James Brokenshire about plans to bring in the legislation.

They plan to meet in London to discuss the next steps forward.

"As a government you review and reflect on what more can be done"

Mr Brokenshire told the Manchester Evening News: "We take the security of the public incredibly seriously. To ensure we are doing this there are a number of steps which have taken place. I have been struck by the work of campaigners, and the incredible work of Figen Murray. I think it's right that we do take the next step to consult on the logistics.

"The devastating attacks in 2017, and more recently at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham, are stark reminders of the current threat we face. As a government you review and reflect on what more can be done.

"We look at venue security and look at the steps that can be done to reduce the risk of terrorist incidents. What might be required for one (venue) might not be required for others. We need to look at those in a targeted and proportionate way. It's getting consistency and standards applied. So much is about training."

"I will continue to work hard to ensure the government deliver on these promises"

Sacha Lord

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, and Co-Founder of Parklife Festival, said: "Figen is an extraordinarily strong woman, and she has lobbied hard for Martyn's Law to be recognised by those in power, so I'm pleased that the Government has taken these steps today to introduce wider measures to keep the public safe.

"All public spaces have a duty of care to their audiences, not only arenas, but stadiums, parks and festivals, and proper legislation will enable business owners and event organisers to ensure best in class security standards are met across the board."

Mr Lord said the government must address the cuts to the police force in recent years in order to ensure communities are protected.

He added: "Mayor Andy Burnham is working hard to increase police numbers across Greater Manchester, but we need wider support and ongoing funding from central government to ensure this growth is maintained.

"I look forward to following how the 'Protect Duty' consultations develop over the next few months and, together with Figen and the GMCA, will continue to work hard to ensure the Government deliver on these promises."