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  • CONTEST is the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism strategy. It was first developed in 2003, before revised versions were published in 2009, 2011 and 2018. The strategy has four work strands: Prevent; Pursue; Protect; and Prepare. The Protect strand includes several objectives to strengthen the country’s protection against potential terror attacks. This includes improving security in crowded places through collaboration between local authorities and private sector partners. There is already a statutory Prevent duty in place.
  • Several reviews into the safety and security of public venues have previously taken place. These include a review in 2007 by Lord West of Spithead (Labour), then parliamentary under secretary at the Home Office, into how best to protect crowded places from terrorist attacks. More recently, in 2016, Lord Harris of Haringey was tasked by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to undertake a review into London’s preparedness for dealing with a major terror attack.
  • On 22 May 2017, a suicide bombing took place at the Manchester Arena. The incident killed 22 people, and over 100 more people were injured. It was the deadliest attack in the United Kingdom since the London bombings on 7 July 2005.
  • Following the bombing, the mother of one of the victims campaigned for the introduction of anti-terror measures at concert venues. For example, metal detectors and bag searches. The campaign has been named ‘Martyn’s Law’.
  • In January 2020, Manchester City Council announced that it would be acting on proposals to enshrine the principles behind ‘Martyn’s Law’ into future regulations. It was also in the process of developing a scheme of best practice amongst licensed venues, exploring ways to implement ‘Martyn’s Law’ at a local level.
  • In the same month, the Minister of State for Security, Brandon Lewis, stated that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “100 percent behind” the ‘Martyn’s Law’ campaign and that the Government was working to improve security measures at public venues and spaces.
  • On 21 January 2020, the Government announced new counter-terrorism measures, including a pledge to introduce counter-terrorism legislation within the first 100 days of the new parliament.

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