Between 26 February and 2 July 2021, the Government consulted on proposals for the protect duty, whereby certain venues and organisations would be required to consider terrorist threats and reasonable mitigations to these. Yesterday, the Government published a document outlining the responses to the public consultation.
The consultation sought the views of those organisations and venues potentially within the scope of the protect duty, as to how we can work together to develop appropriate security measures to improve public security. It put forward criteria and thresholds for inclusion, and considered how responsible parties for public places could consider threats, and appropriate proportionate mitigating action. It also considered what support would be required to fulfil the requirements of the duty, and what oversight and sanctions would be appropriate were there to be non-compliance.
There was an excellent response to the consultation with 2,755 responses being received via an online survey or e-mail. There were also over 80 virtual engagement events undertaken with representatives from a wide range of organisations responsible for public places.
There was broad support in the consultation responses that those responsible for public places should take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect the public from attacks, and to prepare their staff to respond appropriately. There were a wide range of views as to who a potential legislative requirement should apply to, and what they should be required to do.
The Government are carefully considering policy proposals in the light of the views raised in the consultation, in particular, how a legislative requirement could further improve public security, while not placing an undue burden on organisations which are smaller in size or staffed by volunteers, such as places of worship. Legislative proposals will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows.
A copy of the consultation response document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.