New terrorism legislation is due to be introduced in the UK. The Protect Duty laws require owners or operators of publicly accessible locations to take appropriate measures to protect the public from terrorist attacks. For the first time, businesses will be legally required to formally assess terrorism risk. Protect Duty will apply to:
- Public venues (including entertainment and sports venues, tourist attractions, and shopping centres with a capacity for over 100 people)
- Large organisations which operate at publicly accessible locations and employ more than 250 staff (shops and cinemas, for example)
- Public spaces such as parks, beaches, thoroughfares, bridges, town/ city squares and pedestrianised areas, as well as event organisers using these locations.
If your business falls into one of the above categories, you will be required to:
- Consider and implement ‘reasonably practicable’ protective security measures as well as demonstrate that your business is prepared
- Develop a robust plan to deal with a terrorist attack
- Use available information and guidance provided by the government and police to consider terrorist threats to the public and your staff at locations you own or operate from
- Assess the potential impact of these risks across your operations and premises as well as through your organisation’s systems and processes.
Put simply, if the new law applies to your business you will need to assess the risk of terror attacks, put measures in place to reduce the risk and put together robust terrorism plans. To prepare for this new legislation, you’ll need to assess your risk mitigation procedures and adjust them accordingly. The process may include:
- A physical risk security assessment to reduce an attacker’s freedom of movement. Identify vulnerabilities and implement protective measures including the use of technology to identify a potential threat, limit the opportunity for an attack and coordinate a response in the event of an attack
- Updating security policies and procedures, including shelter-in-place and evacuation plans
- Training employees to recognise and respond to a potential threat and clarifying who is responsible for securing a location
- Regular reviews of your security strategy, training, and processes.
If there’s a serious security breach, you may need to conduct a vulnerability assessment and prepare a counter-terrorism plan. You will also want to ensure your company representatives engage with the police and government agencies for training and best practice. The new law will significantly change the way organisations manage terrorism risk. If Protect Duty applies to your business and you fail to meet its requirements, you could face prosecution under the Corporate Manslaughter Act. While the new rules are not expected to be introduced until 2023, it’s wise to start preparing now.
Within your insurance covers, it would be beneficial to:
- Check your public liability and employers’ liability insurance limits and any restrictions or exclusions contained within these. You may need to buy additional terrorism cover if it’s not already included in your policies
- You may want to purchase a terrorism liability policy to cover any bodily injury and property claims expenses and compensation for which you’re liable
- Or, if you already have terrorism insurance, consider increasing your limits
As the responsibility for complying with Protect Duty is from the top down, claims could be lodged against individual directors for failing to meet requirements. Check with your insurer or broker that your directors’ and officers’ liability policy can cover claims like these.
If you are concerned about this or have questions about the impact on your insurance programme, contact Towergate Insurance Brokers on 01604 887300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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