The first of three reports resulting from the Manchester Arena Inquiry, published by chairman Sir John Saunders last week, supports the introduction of Protect Duty legislation, based on the suggested ‘Martyn’s Law’ that would require venues to improve security with consideration made for potential terrorist attacks.

The suggestion of a ‘Martyn’s Law’ has been led by Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett who was one of 22 people who died in the 2017 attack at Manchester Arena. Here she emphasises the importance of the proposed legislation.

Last Thursday started with 3.5 hours of silence while we all sat quietly at tables reading the report that was given to us together with highlighters and pens, in case we needed them. We all studied the document intensely, tired by the end of it.

From a personal perspective I was hoping to read a couple of short paragraphs covering the Protect Duty. I did not expect an entire chapter dedicated to change in legislation and the Protect Duty.  I feel this section of the report validates everything we worked towards and more. There is clear mention of the changing face of terrorism and the need to adapt security accordingly, as well as future-proof new buildings, incorporating counter terrorism measures at the construction phase.

The report will most likely ruffle some feathers in the security industry with some organisations perceiving it as a judgment about the industry as a whole. I urge people not to go down that route, take a large step back and see this as a watershed moment and an opportunity to bring in lots of changes.

The security sector has suffered an identity crisis for a long time, being misunderstood and undervalued as an industry. This report offers an opportunity for everyone in the security sector to really think about the industry and consider positive steps forward. This can include training content, entry requirements into the profession, refresher training, raising the professional profile of the industry by offering desirable professional progression routes, ethical guidelines within a solid regulatory framework that uses regular auditing of professional performance and adherence.

As Michelle Russell, acting CEO of the Security Industry Authority states, “……the findings provide learning and reflection for all concerned……”

Some people in the security sector may be upset about the report. I feel that licking one’s wounds is ok for a little while but then people need to stand up, dust themselves down, roll up their sleeves and get on with making any change they possibly can to help stop this from ever happening again.  And, with that, there has to be a unanimous NO if ever clients look to scrimp and save on security.