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More cash needed for anti-terror measures at venues such as Civic Hall

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published:

Councils will need to be given more money if they are going to be made to protect venues from terrorism, it has been claimed.

Barriers have been used outside the Civic Hall prior to its refurbishment

Owners of attractions and and public spaces such as concert halls, shopping centres and parks will be legally bound to ensure they are protected under plans being proposed by the Government.

A consultation is to be launched on legally forcing organisations to increase physical security at venues and train staff to respond to terrorist attacks, as well as putting in place incident response plans – and how failure to comply would be enforced.

The so-called “protect duty” reflects proposals put forward by the family of Martyn Hett, who was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing attack in 2017.

It's thought the measures will be focused on larger venues which attract large crowds, rather than smaller businesses.

But the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, says local authorities must be sufficiently funded if they are going to be expected to bring in the changes.

Anti-terror measures were introduced in Wolverhampton, at the Civic Hall and outside Molineux, in 2018 in response to the threat posed from fanatics using vehicles as weapons following a number of incidents across Europe.

Blockades were in place outside the Civic during concerts and other big events such as the Grand Slam of Darts, while barriers are now routine on Wolves matchdays. Access to parts of Waterloo Road and Molineux Street is restricted before and after matches.

Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Councils are determined to keep their communities safe and already take advice from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure on how to best protect their public spaces.

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“A proportionate and reasonable public duty could assist councils in working with owners and operators of public spaces and venues to reduce the threat from terrorism.

“However, consideration needs to be given to what licensing and planning powers councils might need to be able to drive improvements in the way public space is designed and operated to make it safer.

“Councils stand ready to work with the Government to make public spaces safer. Faced with ongoing funding and demand pressures, they will need adequate resources to meet any new responsibilities.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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