Protect Duty legislation for Entertainment Venues

Why venues need to be aware of Terrorism and Protect Duty legislation

As a Global Refund Protection Provider, our mission is to look out for ticketing platforms and venues. We have expertise of range of emerging and evolving risks and are able to understand how these risks impact the industries we work with.

One of the biggest changes to legislation in the UK’s history is about to hit British venues, having worldwide implications. Hence, more recently, our attention has been drawn to monitoring the evolution of terrorism and its impact on entertainment and leisure businesses.

We investigate the origins of insurance around terrorism, how the nature of attacks have changed, and what the new legislation stipulates and what it means for venues.


Protect Duty – Summary in Short


Protect Duty – Summary in Full:

The origin of Modern Terrorism and how it has evolved

Guy Fawkes and The Gunpowder Plot is probably the most infamous and historical terrorism event, but the first instance of modern terrorism is instead situated within the IRA bombings of the 1980s. Many of these attacks targeted property, infrastructure and business operations. The use of IEDS and vehicle bombs led to a high level of physical destruction.

Political and religious extremism has evolved modern terrorism to become more unpredictable and indiscriminate. Targets are less defined, broader, and mitigating against threats is proving more difficult. Attacks are somewhat improvised, with local public transport and entertainment venues the new focal point of these abhorrent chaotic intentions. The 7/7 bombings in 2005 caused devastation, as did the 2017 Borough Market attack and the Manchester arena bombing.

Modern terrorism now seemingly requires less forethought and instead acts to cause as much public disquiet and anxiety, targeting citizens rather than infrastructure. Individuals do not require financial backing in order to carry out an attack that could cause significant hysteria. The unpredictable nature of attacks means it’s difficult for the authorities to know when or where an attack will happen. The current national threat level of the UK is SUBSTANTIAL, signifying the high likelihood of a terrorism event. Therefore, businesses need to be aware of the signs of potential attacks and how to counter them.

The forms of terror attacks are now much broader, and so too are the methods of countering them. More sophisticated attacks are being seen, such as cyber attacks, drone usage and chemical weapon attacks. This further contributes to how unpredictable attacks can be; businesses must continue to be vigilant while the government protects against terrorism by investing in new areas beyond that of intelligence and law enforcement.

The change in legislation

The 2017 Manchester Arena bombing shocked the world and set in motion a series of events which has led to one of the biggest legislative changes to policing terrorism in decades. Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims, demanded legislation to compel publicly accessible locations to conduct basic security activities.

Investigation into the attack and the movements of the lone attacker showed what more could have been done to possibly prevent the terror event. CCTV footage showed repeated suspicious behaviour, prompting an enquiry into how more responsibility should be placed onto public locations for their awareness, safety and security.

Volume 1 of the Manchester Arena Enquiry reported many missed opportunities and a systematic risk management failure on the part of the venue. The key failings which the report illustrates include; insufficiently trained personnel, inadequate risk assessments, unsecure security perimeter, complacency, and ‘grey-spaces’ (space where there is a lack of clarity over ownership and therefore responsibility for protection).

These failings have been the focal point of the development of plans put into law around the specific responsibilities of venues and businesses. These laws, introduced late 2022, will help to prevent future terror attacks. This piece of legislation is called ‘Protect Duty’.

What does Protect Duty mean?

Protect Duty is the biggest counter-terrorism shift, putting counter-terrorism responsibilities upon 650,000 UK businesses. This duty to protect will fall on any venue that can accommodate over a set number of people – these include stadiums, theatres, festivals, theme parks and music venues. Businesses with over 250 staff that operate at publicly accessible locations also find themselves with increased responsibility. 

Adhering to these responsibilities will be through training and risk assessments. Cultural security improvements include further training around scenarios and security breaches as well as moving to irradicate complacency. Mandatory physical updates would involve bollards, intruder detection technology, CCTV correctly and tactically placed, and secure entrances.

A background, statistical reports and considerations around Protect Duty has been provided by the government.

However, the biggest challenge will be the grey-spaces – the shared responsibility spaces. New legislation dictates that every business that uses the space will have a responsibility over its security. Whilst this increases vigilance, it requires cooperation. Whilst this increases vigilance, it also creates logistical difficulties that venues should start to think about sooner rather than later, and start to build relationships to help mitigate this shared risk.

What can venues do to protect against terrorism?

Counter-terrorism is closer to a holistic system than a tick-box exercise. The first steps should involve discussing actions with neighboring businesses, assess individual risks, and identify practicable protective measures.

The key areas that have been noted within government guidance are; keeping in mind the present likelihood of attacks, what type of attacks may occur, identifying and rectifying the weak spots of your venue or the hidden areas, and creating a tangible plan to monitor your venue’s risks. Implementing measures, both physical and cultural, is advised and will help to bolster defences.

The final plan on how the government will police the new legislation is still yet to be finalized.  But similarities to the health and safety legislation would suggest that both civil and legal prosecution would hold businesses to account. Inspections on a venue’s preparedness could lead to fines, with owners and business directors personally at risk of persecution should there be serious failings or neglect. Businesses must take these new responsibilities seriously.

When will Protect Duty legislation take effect?

The implementation period will carry on throughout 2022, and is predicted to be implemented in December. We already know enough about the legislation that we can assist venues to begin taking action now. By consulting with Booking Protect, you are putting yourself and your venue on the best footing, ensuring to be compliant from the day the legislation is implemented.

Protect Duty – Summary In Short:

  • Terror threats are varied and new protective legislation will be put in place as a response to the Manchester Arena Enquiry
  • Counter-terror is now the responsibility of businesses and venues
  • New legislation affects venues with over 100 people capacity or businesses with 250 staff
  • Venues must work together to mitigate terrorism risks and protect ‘grey-spaces’
  • Legislation is expected to be in place December 2022
  • Stay up to date with Booking Protect or contact us for advice on how to get Protect Duty ready

At Booking Protect, we hope to be releasing a Protect Duty toolkit once more facts around the legislation are known. This toolkit will include helpful advice as well as things to look out for. We will send out a bulletin including answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Follow us to stay up to date and ensure you and your business are fully prepared and protected.



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