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Manchester City Council set to adopt Martyn’s Law early

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Media captionFigen Murray says she is “over the moon” Manchester will be the first to adopt tougher security checks

Clubs and venues in Manchester will be asked to adopt new anti-terror measures following a campaign by the mother of arena bomb victim Martyn Hett.

The 29-year-old was one of 22 people killed in the suicide bombing in 2017.

His mother Figen Murray has been lobbying the government to bring in Martyn’s Law, which would see venues make tougher security checks.

Manchester City Council is aiming to be the first to bring in the changes by adopting new licensing rules.

Ms Murray said: “I am absolutely over the moon with [the council] because obviously it is not a legal requirement yet – they have said voluntarily they are going to kick-start it.

“To me it’s massive because I have been working so hard with a lot of other wonderful people on this.”

Image copyright Gareth Clements HO
Image caption Martyn Hett was one of 22 people killed in the attack on 22 May 2017

Ms Murray said she hoped other cities would follow suit.

She said: “Across the road from my house I have a tree planted in Martyn’s memory.

“I went there on 1 January at 8am while everybody was asleep and I said to Martyn, ‘this is the year I am going to try and implement Martyn’s Law. I will do my best for you Martyn’.

“As a mother what else can I do?”

‘Law needs action’

Councillors will be asked on Wednesday to approve a review of the way the council licenses premises, although initially its implementation would be voluntary.

The existing range of licensing conditions would be revised to incorporate specific counter-terrorism measures such as ensuring venues have a plan in place and staff training.

Without legislation, licensed venues cannot be compelled to implement Martyn’s Law but the council said it may impose counter-terrorism conditions on new licences or where a licence is being varied.

It said any revised conditions could be introduced this year following a short public consultation.

However to include anti-terrorism measures into the formal Licensing Policy could not happen until January 2021.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, council deputy leader, said: “We are proud to work with Figen to lead the way on bringing in an improved culture of safety in this country, but we need the government to take action.

“Only they have the power to get Martyn’s Law onto the statute books and we hope it treats her campaign as a priority.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Following the horrendous attacks in 2017 the government is working to make venues and public spaces safer.

“This includes reviewing the law around protective security and preparedness arrangements and whether owners should be legally required to put in place counter terror measures.

“We welcome the contribution made by Figen Murray and the Martyn’s Law campaign to this work.”

Mr Hett was killed along with 21 others when a bomb exploded at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017, which also left hundreds injured.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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