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AEV holds first Protect Duty awareness session for event industry associations

by Joe Gallop

The Association of Event Venues (AEV) held its first quarterly Protect Duty awareness session for the industry on 23 March, with more than 60 professionals from the organiser, venue, and supplier sectors attending the Zoom meeting.

The awareness sessions are led by Henry Havis (pictured), head of security, ExCeL London and chair of the AEV Security Working Group.

The sessions are the latest in a series of actions and initiatives from the AEV since the announcement of Protect Duty legislation on 21 January 2020, building on the work of the Security Working Group’s previous briefings, workshops and cross-association provision of guidance on the legislation.

The sessions arose as a result of discussions at the working group and the recognition of the need for all event businesses to understand the “purpose, shape and direction” of the proposed new legislation before it comes into effect.

Havis said: “We had good attendance and quickly brought delegates up to date on the events that have led to the proposed new legislation. We then gave our understanding of what the law is likely to say, based on the most current information that has come out of the public consultation and the Manchester Arena enquiry, as well as guidance from the Home Office, The National Counter Terror Security Office (NaCTSO), and other official sources.”

Havis added: “There were concerns raised that the new law will be expensive or difficult to implement, but until the law is fully drafted, we won’t know the precise terms of Protect Duty. It’s possible to look at the direction the public discourse has taken and come to the conclusion that enhancements and mitigations, although proportionate, may have a financial impact and could change the way events are currently executed, some of which may be required quickly.

“In our view that’s premature. The industry will need a period of time to understand the requirements and make appropriate changes. These awareness sessions will enable event industry businesses to understand how they need to respond to this legislation now, and every quarter until Protect Duty officially comes into force.

“Protect Duty is a positive change, and we need to embrace it collectively and consistently as an industry.”

The sessions, which are aimed at senior personnel in security, HR and allied roles, take the form of a presentation followed by an open forum for Q&A. They are scheduled for every quarter leading up to the final Protect Duty legislation that is expected to become law early next year.

The next briefing is expected in June and the sessions are open to the members of AEV, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA).

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