Laura Sharman 24 February 2020

New measures to protect public spaces from terror attacks

Councils could be required to protect public spaces from terror attacks under new proposals announced by the Government.

The new ‘Protect Duty’ law would require all owners and operators of public spaces and venues to take measures to prepare for and protect the public from a terrorist attack.

Security minister, James Brokenshire, said: ‘The devastating attacks in 2017, and more recently at Fishmongers’ Hall and Streatham, are stark reminders of the current threat we face. We are in complete agreement with campaigners such as Figen Murray on the importance of venues and public spaces having effective and proportionate protective security and preparedness measures to keep people safe.

‘Of course, it is important that this new law is proportionate. This public consultation will ensure we put in place a law that will help protect the public while not putting undue pressure on businesses.’

The Local Government Association (LGA) has welcomed the proposals but warned that any new responsibilities must be funded.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: 'A proportionate and reasonable public duty could assist councils in working with owners and operators of public spaces and venues to reduce the threat from terrorism.

'However, consideration needs to be given to what licensing and planning powers councils might need to be able to drive improvements in the way public space is designed and operated to make it safer.'

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