Martyn's Law: Ensuring Security for Worcester Businesses

 

The consultation phase for Martyn’s Law, the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, is now underway, representing a crucial opportunity for Worcester’s business community to contribute to enhanced security measures.

Named after Martyn Hett, a victim of the Manchester bombing, this legislation aims to mandate venue owners to assess terrorism threats and implement appropriate and robust measures. The legislation ensures readiness and response training for individuals in the event of an attack. Enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes aim to deliver better protection, aligning with government responses to the Manchester Arena Inquiry. The bill will be passed under a tiered framework, meaning different types of businesses will be mandated to undertake different measures.

Under Martyn’s Law, proprietors of standard-tier premises in Worcester, covering sites with capacities ranging from 100

 

to 799 individuals, must fulfil key requirements. This is the most common business type in Worcester that will be affected by the new bill. Standard-tier businesses will need to notify the Regulator of their responsibility for the premises and namely, implement procedural measures to mitigate the risk of harm to individuals in the event of an attack. Notably, the revised Bill eliminates the need for specified forms, prescribed training, or physical alterations to equipment, reducing disruption to most Worcester city centre local business operations.

Business owners and stakeholders in Worcester are urged to engage in the Government’s consultation process, offering insights to inform the finalisation of this legislation. This initiative strongly resonates with Worcester BID’s dedication to cultivating a safer environment. Through expanded training initiatives, including our Catastrophic Bleed Courses, heightened safety measures, and the improved utilisation of the CCTV-integrated business radio network, CityNet, we aim to enhance security measures. Additionally, our collaborative endeavours, such as Safe Space, underscore our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community members at work, as residents and whilst enjoying all that our city has to offer.

Your input will contribute to the Government’s endeavour to enhance public safety and national security. As this Bill impacts Worcester businesses, it’s essential to be prepared for the changes it brings. Martyn’s Law is a legislative step in the right direction, but it needs your stakeholder input. You can participate in the consultation via the government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/martyns-law-standard-tier-consultation.


Worcester's 2023 Foot Traffic Soars Despite Regional Downturn

A recent release of an annual report by Place Informatics has cast a spotlight on the foot traffic trends across 12 UK regions in 2023. This comprehensive report analyses the yearly, quarterly, and monthly fluctuations in footfall, providing a comparative assessment against the previous year’s data.

Examining the year-on-year percentage change by region, the South-West and Wales emerge as the front-runners, experiencing the highest percentage increase at 4.57% and 4.45%, respectively. In contrast, London faces a notable decline with a -1.43% decrease, closely followed by the West Midlands at -1.38%. Despite Worcester’s geographic tie to the West Midlands, recent data challenges the notion of a decline in our city’s footfall.

Contrary to regional statistics, Worcester has exhibited remarkable growth. The 2023 footfall has surged by an average of 21,180 per month, translating to a substantial addition of 254,164 extra pedestrians on our streets in 2023.

What’s driving Worcester’s impressive foot traffic surge for 2023? The city has reaped the benefits of collaborative efforts, evident in the success of the Victorian Christmas market orchestrated by Worcester City Council and innovative events like the Starlight Lantern Parade, a collaborative project involving The Hive, Council, Worcester BID, and government funding support. Worcester BID’s strategic promotion of the city’s rich heritage through a Sky TV advert targeted at specific demographics has also played a pivotal role. Local businesses have actively contributed to this upswing with so many fantastic venues achieving awards, such as Maneki Ramen’s win of Japanese Restaurant of the Year 2023.

Venues have also worked hard to create a safer and more welcoming city offering for all via increased training. Worcester BID’s commitment to community development is evident in the 1205 delegates from businesses within its district attending free and heavily subsidised training courses, fostering confidence and skill development. The introduction of the BID Safer Streets Officer and Safe Space has further bolstered nighttime operations, providing crucial support in areas such as first aid and mental health.

Enhancements in lighting infrastructure and seasonal displays in aerial spaces have gained national attention, attracting more tourism and increased foot traffic on Worcester’s streets. Additionally, our arts and culture scene is booming, with the addition of the art spaces in the Arches and extended opening and popular late-night openings at our Museums!

As we look ahead, Worcester is poised for continued positive momentum, especially as the Official Education and Community Partner of the St Richards Hospice City Art Trail, The Waddle of Worcester, ensuring mass footfall into the city during summer.

Stay tuned by reading the Worcester BID column every Friday for the latest updates.


Martyn's Law: An Important Update for Business Owners

The public consultation on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, also known as Martyn’s Law is now open. The government consultation will run for 6 weeks

Martyn’s Law is a new legislation in the UK that will mandate those responsible for certain premises and events to consider the terrorist risk and how they would respond to an attack. It is named in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester bombing. The law will follow a tiered model linked to the type of activity taking place and the expected audience size and will seek to improve how prepared a venue is without putting an undue burden on business.

In summary, those responsible for Standard Tier premises must:

  • Notify the Regulator that they are, or have become, responsible for premises within the scope of the Bill (and so subject to the relevant requirements). This remains broadly in line with previous requirements.
  • Have in place procedural measures that could be expected to reduce, so far as reasonably practicable, the risk of physical harm to individuals at the premises in the event of an attack. These relate only to the procedures to be followed by people working at the premises in the event of an attack occurring or being suspected as about to occur. As the procedural measures are about procedures for responding to an attack or suspected attack, it is not expected or required that physical alterations be undertaken or additional equipment purchased for Standard Tier premises.
  • In contrast to the published draft Bill, there is no requirement to complete a specified form (the ‘Standard Terrorism Evaluation’) for Standard Tier premises or ensure that people working at the premises are given any specific training. However, as part of putting in place the procedural measures, workers will need to be sufficiently instructed or trained to carry them out effectively.

The consultation is targeted at organisations, businesses, local and public authorities, and individuals who own or operate publicly accessible premises or events that the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill will potentially affect.

It seeks views from those responsible for smaller premises which would fall within the standard tier. Standard tier venues are businesses with a capacity of 100-799 individuals.

The bill will impose requirements about certain premises and events to increase their preparedness for, and protection from, a terrorist attack by requiring them to take proportionate steps, depending on the size and nature of the activities that take place at the premises.

The proposed requirements would apply to those responsible for qualifying public premises and qualifying public events.


Take the consultation here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/martyns-law-standard-tier-consultation

 


Worcester Leads the Charge Against Retail Theft

The recent release of the 2023 Retail Crime Survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has illuminated a national picture of a concerning surge in violence against staff and retail theft. The BRC are urging government intervention to safeguard retail workers, underscoring the pressing need for nationwide investment in deterrents, coupled with comprehensive training and support networks. Aligning with these findings, Policing Minister Chris Philp has initiated a national action plan to combat shoplifting, urging retailers to swiftly provide CCTV footage and shoplifters’ images for identification through facial recognition technology. The introduction of the Pegasus police program further seeks to gather intelligence on organised crime gangs involved in shoplifting, aiming to enhance collaboration between retailers and law enforcement.

Remarkably, Worcester has been ahead of the curve, already implementing very similar strategies for some time. The city’s resilience against the rising trend of retail theft is evident. Worcester BID is taking action to help local businesses reduce theft by providing comprehensive training courses, increasing the use of the 24/7 CCTV-connected CityNet radio system, and using GDPR-compliant DISC information sharing systems, working to strengthen the understanding and adoption of effective theft reduction schemes. Tailored Safer City meetings have evolved into essential platforms for businesses to unite against the shared challenge of retail theft, receiving insights directly from crucial partners like West Mercia Police, providing a helpful support network.

Worcester’s success in combatting retail theft is backed by tangible statistics. From June 20th, 2023, to January 19th, 2024, Worcester BID’s Safer Streets Officer reported 57 instances of asset and monetary recovery and 87 cases of deterrence within the business district. This dedicated officer actively addresses anti-social behaviour, particularly in hot-spot areas, and supports staff in reporting crimes, contributing to a substantial recovery of £12,755.15 in just seven months.

Through collaborative efforts and heightened awareness, Worcester’s partners have effectively intensified the targeting of retail theft, working towards safer streets for everyone. It is great to see that there is a national push to reduce retail theft, and even better to see that Worcester’s endeavours have already yielded success in combatting retail theft. The city is committed to further cultivating partnerships and providing ongoing efforts that support businesses to flourish.