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Boris Johnson proposes new law for venues to prepare for terror attacks

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed a new law that would ramp up security at public venues, including stadia and arenas, to deal with the threat of terror attacks.

Johnson has made the proposals ahead of next week’s general election and it comes after 25-year-old Jack Merritt and 23-year-old Saskia Jones were killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers’ Hall in London last Friday.

In May 2017, 22 people were killed in a terrorist attack following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. Martyn Hett was among the victims in the Manchester Arena attack and his mother Figen Murray has welcomed the Prime Minister’s pledge, which would come into effect if the Conservatives win next week’s election.

Johnson said, according to the Manchester Evening News: “They (venues) need to reduce their vulnerability to people who seek to perpetrate violent acts too.

“The nature of threats faced by British citizens has changed in the evolution of modern extremism. We must not let the terrorists alter our way of life. In our open and tolerant society, the freedom for citizens to enjoy markets, concerts, gigs and restaurants must continue as before. But there are steps we can and will take to make public spaces as secure as possible.”

Murray has campaigned for the introduction of ‘Martyn’s Law’, which the MEN notes would see public venues legally required to carry out counter-terror training and enforce specific security procedures.

Murray, together with Brendan Cox, the widower of MP Jo Cox, has called for change in the law surrounding venues’ anti-terror measures and in September the pair met with Brandon Lewis, security minister at the Home Office. Murray has welcomed Johnson’s pledge.

She told the MEN: “When Martyn died I promised both myself and him that I would do everything in my power to stop other families going through what we were. Today is a real breakthrough in those efforts and I thank the Prime Minister for responding in the way he has.

“Martyn’s law won’t stop terrorism – nothing can – but it will make it harder to commit. It’s the sort of common-sense law that most people would think already existed. Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign and to all of my fellow survivors at Survivors Against Terror for your help in making it happen.”

The Conservatives said it would work with venue owners and operators to develop the “best approach” to making facilities safe.

Image: Arno Mikkor