Churches, pubs and schools could be told to make counter-terror plans so they are prepared for any attack
- Businesses in public places will be told to draw up counter-terrorism plans
- They must set out what to do in the event of a terror attack under a ‘Protect Duty’
- Consultation paper suggests that this includes shops with as few as 10 to 15 staff
Shops, pubs, schools and places of worship will have to draw up counter-terrorism plans under proposals set out by the Home Secretary today.
Owners of public spaces will have to invest in security measures and regular staff training.
Setting out what to do in the event of a terror attack – known as a ‘Protect Duty’ – will be a new legal requirement.
Priti Patel said the Government ‘will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security
‘The business would be expected to have a plan for each of the attack types identified as a risk. These would be known to staff, in a similar manner to a fire plan,’ a consultation paper says.
Failure to comply would most likely be dealt with by a fine.
The scheme was a Tory election pledge after the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.
Priti Patel said the Government ‘will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security.
‘That is why we want all organisations responsible for public venues and spaces to put public safety and security first.’
A Home Office source insisted the measures would not place an ‘undue burden’ on firms already hit by the pandemic.
Shops, pubs, schools and places of worship will have to draw up counter-terrorism plans under proposals set out by the Home Secretary today
The consultation paper suggests the new measures will apply to a wide range of facilities, including shops with as few as 10 to 15 staff.
It will also apply to churches and other religious venues, markets, bars and pubs, casinos, high streets, medical centres, parks, schools and universities.
Larger public places such as shopping centres or theme parks will have to devise more detailed plans than smaller businesses.
A Home Office source insisted the measures would not place an ‘undue burden’ on businesses, which have seen their income decimated by the pandemic.
The consultation paper says: ‘The Government is extremely conscious of the severe impacts that Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, on many businesses and organisations.
‘The thresholds for venues and organisations potentially in scope have been carefully chosen at this time to recognise this.
‘It is envisaged that for many organisations and venues, the requirements of a Protect Duty would entail minimal new costs.
‘Many have already undertaken or are pursuing ongoing significant work to consider security measures, systems and processes, including through recent consideration of Covid-19 health measures and ensuring appropriate security requirements as part of these.’
It added: ‘We propose that a new offence is created for non-compliant organisations who persistently fail to take reasonable steps to reduce the potential impact of attacks.
‘We propose that an enforcement regime is developed, with penalties primarily based on civil sanctions (such as fines) for organisations in breach of the Duty.’
The consultation is due to run until July 2, before ministers draw up changes to the law.
It will also apply to churches and other religious venues, markets, bars and pubs, casinos, high streets, medical centres, parks, schools and universities [File photo]