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Halo Solutions + UK Government Home Affairs Select Committee ‘Naive’ To Risk Of Terror Threats After Manchester Arena Bombing

16 August 2023





One of the UK’s leading crowd security and safety specialists and a former counter terrorism police officer and expert advisor to the National Police Chief’s Council has publicly backed the proposed draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill known as “Martyn’s Law” and says that the government Home Affairs Select Committee is “naïve and out of touch” to the risks of terrorist threats as it is proposes to scale back some parts of the legislation.

Martyn’s Law  is named in tribute to Martyn Hett, who was killed at the age of 29 alongside 21 other people in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. His mother, Figen Murray, has since dedicated her life to helping stop terrorist attacks in the future – work for which she received an OBE last year.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has called on the government to reduce the proposed safety measures and base these on risk, as opposed to the size of a venue. It believes that such measures in the current draft of the bill would “place a significant and disproportionate burden on smaller venues, while failing to ensure adequate safety measures at all public events at risk of terror attacks”.


Halo V5 Crowd Safety & Security - Incident & Threat Management System

Lloyd Major, CEO of Halo Solutions, – whose crowd management security and safety technology, Halo (v5), is used at some of the biggest music, entertainment and sporting events in the world – said:

“Figen Murray is absolutely correct in her assessment of the Martyn’s Law legislation and that the government must proceed with strong and robust legislation. Any weakening or reduction of the proposed measures in the draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill, also known as “Martyn’s Law’, would potentially put the public at even greater risk of another terror attack, as terrorists would merely switch their tactics to focus on softer targets without such counter terrorism measures in place.

“Protecting the public from terror attacks has to be more of a priority. It is vital that all public venues and premises have counter terrorism measures and training in place to protect staff and members of the public against the threat of an attack. Any weakening of the proposed measures in the draft bill would be counterproductive to the very foundation of Martyn’s Law. Time and time again we hear the words ‘lessons will be learned’ and the reality is that lessons are rarely ever learned, and the same tragic mistakes are repeated.”

The select committee of MPs said the draft anti-terror legislation could be “punitive and could place small businesses and voluntary organisations at risk of closure if they don’t comply and would fail to make a difference to public safety”. Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Dame Diana Johnson MP, said: “The government must ensure that the steps they need to take are based on an accurate assessment of risk and not arbitrary capacity figures.”


Halo V5 Crowd Safety & Security - Incident & Threat Management Event Dashboard

Lloyd Major added “Terrorism does not discriminate against a small pub or a large stadium venue. We have witnessed a dynamic range of attacks from the Soho pub bombings to the London Borough Market, Manchester Arena attacks and many more. It is our collective responsibility to all be more vigilant, prepared and aware of terrorism after the tragic impact of all these attacks. All business owners, live music venues, bars, pubs and restaurants need to work together collectively to protect the public and their staff against terrorism. We do it for Health and Safety, this is no different and certainly no more onerous or costly.”

Martyn’s Law will require both public and private-sector businesses to ensure they have sufficient and robust security measures in place to uphold the “protect duty” and elevate public safety. This means that thousands of pubs, restaurants, live music venues, arenas, stadiums, shopping centres and entertainment complexes will be required to take much greater responsibility to protect and safeguard the public against a possible terrorist attack.

Following the conclusion of the £32m Manchester Arena bombing inquiry, many of the 22 families whose loved ones were either killed or over 800 seriously injured (many hundreds more with mental injuries) slammed the report’s findings and “excuses”, and called upon the police and the government to act to ensure lessons would be learned.

In response to the inquiry findings, Halo Solutions – which is already protecting the public across multiple sectors, including major sporting and entertainment events, transport, universities and other settings with its Halo (v5) software – decided to make its technology available for free to small businesses, pubs, live music venues and entertainment spaces where public capacity does not exceed 800 people, as per the legislation, in an effort to help them address the anticipated measures that are expected to come into force. 

The company, whose motto is “Let’s protect everyone”, has also added further enhancements and features to its award-winning crowd and event safety software with the addition of live stream drone & video technology to help monitor crowd safety and security, and protect against criminal and activist-protestor activity.  

The latest enhancement to Halo (v5) includes an upgraded public reporting feature, which allows the public at a venue to upload pictures, video or text about suspicious individuals’ behaviour, items left unattended or a range of concerns. It also includes a function to report individuals for racist or homophobic chants.

Lloyd Major continued “Having strong counter terrorism measures in place at stadiums because of a ‘perceived’ higher risk and greater threat will only shift the emphasis of a terrorist attack to focus on smaller ‘softer’ targets such as pubs, restaurants small live music venues, which would fly under the legislation radar of any counter terrorism initiatives, which is precisely what the select committee is asking the government to do.  

“Have MPs not understood the severity of incidents such as Hillsborough, the Manchester Arena bombing and the countless other foiled terror attacks? It is naïve to think that the proposed measures in the new pre-legislation of Martyn’s Law would fail to make a difference to public safety. You simply cannot compromise on public safety when you see the devastation caused by a terrorist incident. All businesses, no matter how small or large, have a moral duty of care and safety to their staff and the public to protect them against danger and the threat of terrorism.”

The Halo (v5) system acts as a central command-and-control function that operates from a standard laptop and can bring together more than 10 different systems integrated into one, with more than 75 client-led features. It integrates monitoring and recording of multiple feeds of information across a venue, from security, health and safety, cleaning, public reporting, video streaming, ticket scanning, accreditation and soon will include crowd management, crowd density, flow, sentiment, mood and capacity. 

It means that when an incident occurs, all the actions, protocols and decisions taken by staff are recorded in one location for transparency and auditing purposes. It also provides a valuable reporting mechanism on crowd safety, health and safety and incident logging. This allows operations directors, event managers and venue owners to make informed decisions that impact public safety. Critically, in the event of a major incident or terrorist attack, it can provide vital evidential data to support the decisions taken. 

Halo (v5) is already being deployed and protecting the public at some of the world’s largest, most prestigious, and high-profile events,including the FIFA World Cup fan zones in Qatar (2022), Cricket World Cup (2019), British Grand Prix, Notting Hill Carnival/Glastonbury Festival and Miami F1 Grand Prix. It is also being used at a number of arena and conference venues across the UK, including The NEC Group, Motorpoint Arena, M&S Bank Arena and ExCeL London. The Halo System is also being used extensively at football and rugby stadiums, including Chelsea FC, West Bromwich Albion FC, Mansfield Town FC, Watford FC and Premiership Rugby clubs Harlequins and Leicester Tigers. 

About Lloyd Major
Lloyd Major has nearly 20 years of police trainer and command experience, developing his expertise at the College of Policing, Emergency Planning College and Coventry University. Becoming the first operational planner in the UK to obtain a master’s degree in emergency planning and management, Lloyd developed a totally new process for multi-dimensional threat assessment.

Lloyd’s policing career saw him sit on the National Policing Events Gold Group (NPEGG), Tactical Training and Equipment Working Group (TTEWG), and as an expert advisor to the National Police Chiefs’ Council for officer safety and public order. 

He also worked around England in Operational Planning Units, including sitting on Safety Advisory Groups (SAGs) for specialist planning advice for thousands of events, major tournaments and operations.

A career highlight saw Lloyd join the National Counter Terrorism Police Operations Centre (NCTPOC) in London, serving between 2016 and 2019, where he advised law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world on terror threats, extremism, specialist training and resilience measures.

Lloyd left the police in March 2019 to take up a position on the organising committee for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, where he worked across the tournament in security planning, counterterrorism preparedness, crowd management and tournament safety.

Lloyd’s passion for public safety and involvement in counter terrorism fuelled a deep-rooted motivation to enhance safety technology and training in the events industry. He founded Halo Solutions in order to directly support these issues and bring more resilience to events, venues, stadia and operations worldwide.

About Halo Solutions 

For more information visit Halo Solutions.

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