5 Key Changes To Hospitality Security Regulations In 2024

One of the UK’s most valued and valuable sectors, our hospitality and leisure businesses are an integral part of what makes Britain’s high streets, city centres and urban areas such a cherished attraction.

There’s data to support that, too. While we’re still yet to see a return to pre-pandemic levels of contribution to the economy, it’s thought that the hospitality sector alone contributes a healthy £71.3 billion, and is estimated to offer employment to around 2 and a half million people across the country.

It’s no surprise, then, that security is of the utmost importance. And with changing regulations surrounding keeping the hospitality sector safe and secure, it can at times be a difficult industry to keep pace with. Fortunately, here at Churchill Support Services, we’ve long been at the bleeding edge of all the latest changes and updates to security regulations across the UK.

With our latest piece, we’ll be turning our lens to the leisure and hospitality industry, pinpointing the key regulations you’ll need to be aware of as we progress further into 2024. We’ll also posit some potential options for solutions, and for progressing alongside the ever-changing security sector.


Why Do Security Regulations Change?

There’s multiple reasons why this might happen. The most simple of these is in response to changing technologies. We’re already starting to see this, with the advent of AI-assisted technologies becoming more commonplace across premises across the country, and biometric scanners becoming more increasingly used for access controls and private areas.

Where it gets more complex is when regulations are put into place following major events, or in response to ongoing issues. We’ve most recently seen this with the aftermath of the tragic Manchester Arena bombings on 22nd May, 2017, and the concerted push for more robust planning in the face of such tragedies.

Ongoing issues, like alcohol- and drug-related crimes, or persistent public order and antisocial behaviour offences, also undergo similarly sustained investigations into root causes, and the measures that can be put into place to mitigate the risks these types of behaviour lead to.

Ultimately, though, security regulations change to better ensure the safety of the general public, businesses and visitors. They’re often both a preventative and proactive measure, but they can come as a way to prevent reoccurrences of significant incidents (especially so in the case of the Manchester Arena bombings).

With that defined, let’s look in more depth at the regulations that are set to change the way the hospitality and leisure sector approaches security in 2024.


5 Major Changes Affecting Hospitality Security In 2024

We’ll outline just 5 of the most pivotal changes set to revolutionise the approach to security across the hospitality and leisure sectors.

1. The Expected Introduction Of Martyn’s Law

First pioneered in early 2019, Martyn’s Law is a piece of legislation that seeks to better protect the public, and particularly event goers, from the persistent threat of terrorism and terror attacks. It was devised following the Manchester Arena bombings after the Ariana Grande concert on May 22nd, 2017.

Spearheaded by Figen Murray, mother of Martyn Hett who was one of the 23 victims of the Manchester bombings, the law seeks to enforce more stringent regulations across the security of events venues, and put more robust checking into place.

As of late March 2024, this has now entered finalising stages of discussion at governmental level, and while conversations have been set for an indefinite amount of time, industry insiders expect these legislations to become more widely accepted in the coming months, and to soon pass through those final protocols.

In a nutshell, Martyn’s Law will offer more readiness, preparedness and robustness in the ways the hospitality and leisure sector plans for its diverse calendar of events. Here’s just a snapshot of what the hospitality industry can expect as we head towards this pivotal change:

  • Clearer Counter-Terrorism Training – One of the key tenets of Martyn’s Law, and indeed the driving motivation behind its creation, is better readiness and understanding of what to do if a terrorist attack occurs. The law seeks to provide more comprehensive training for all event security officers at larger venues, and support for smaller or more bespoke venues.
  • Clearer Readiness & Protocols – Aimed at creating a more all-encompassing approach to the very real threat of terrorism, Martyn’s Law offers clearer guidance on what to do in the event of a serious incident, including lock-in processes and evacuations
  • Clearer Compliance Measures – With regulators set to regularly review, advise and ensure the proper compliance with the stipulations of Martyn’s Law, it’s set to become a much more streamlined process.

These measures are clearly echoed by the sentiments of Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, who describes Martyn’s Law as “simple steps that save lives”. And while they may be daunting at first, it’s crucial to remember that a stellar hospitality security company will already be abreast of those issues.


2. Better Regulations Around Alcohol & Spiking

It might come as something of a surprise to learn that the regulation surrounding “spiking” (deliberately putting drugs in another person’s drink) still had hazy-at-best regulations surrounding it as recently as last year.

With a reported 6732 incidents of spiking in 2023 alone (according to the latest Government figures), and thousands more thought to be going unreported for a myriad reasons, these new regulations are very much a necessary step in the right direction.

New measures from the Home Office, first approved in December of 2023, are quickly being rolled out across the UK. As part of those widespread and welcomed changes, we find:

  • More coordinated police action to combat the impacts and aftereffects of spiking, particularly during busier weeks of the year
  • Initiatives to raise awareness amongst young people
  • Changing legislation and laws to bring about harsher sentencing and punishment for offenders
  • More support for victims of spiking, including anonymised reporting tools
  • Updated statutory guidance to specifically mention spiking

Perhaps more pressing for those operating in the hospitality sector is the changes to training for door staff to be able to identify both those who have been spiked, as well as potential perpetrators before they can cause a serious incident. Our guide to becoming a security guard explores the process of this more, but suffice it to say that additional training and reassurance will come as a welcome change.

This is something that any security company will already be ahead of the curve on, and any hospitality business will be provided with door staff who’ve already undergone the extensive levels of training in spiking recognition that’s needed for a busy venue.


3. Changes To Alcohol Duties In Scotland

While not directly related to hospitality security, the upcoming changes to alcohol unit pricing in Scotland is set to make waves in the hospitality and leisure sector, as well as the wider alcohol industry. This increase in MUP (Minimum Unit Pricing) take the unit price from 50 pence up to 65 pence.

It’s part of a wider remit of suggested changes that are designed to tackle Scotland’s issues with alcohol, including a blanket ban on the advertising of alcohol on television, publicly visible billboards and sport match sponsorship.

Of course, this will more affect the supply chains for restaurants, bars, pubs and other venues that serve alcohol in Scotland, but there’s set to be indirect impacts for the security of those venues, too. That’s especially true in the early days of this legislation, with the BBC predicting that an average of can of lager will rise by an estimated 30 pence.

Set to be introduced on or after the 24th April 2024, customers will need a period of adjustment to accommodate the change of prices, and in that time, there’s an intrinsic need for additional or more robust security measures to be in place.


4. Further Changes Expected For Scottish Pubs In 2024

In a similar vein to our previous point, there’s expected to be further developments to The Tied Pubs Act that was first passed by Scottish Parliament back in 2021. At its core, the act seeks to better govern the relationship between the tenant and landlord, and to afford more control to those controlling the establishment.

Stalled by a legal challenge, the wheels of this Act are once again in motion, with more news surrounding the bill expected to be revealed as we move further into 2024. This is not only set to affect the ownership of pubs – it could be something that seeps down to the customer, too, especially if there’s an additional cost associated with that.

As we touched on when discussing Scotland’s proposed changes to alcohol duties, this may well be something that most establishments never see the impacts of. Higher-end establishments, and those with a smaller client base, may never see any changes.

However, as is a consistent theme across this article, and with the hospitality security changes as a whole, it pays to be prepared. Larger venues, and those with a more well-established or long-standing base of customers, might need to invest in additional security should prices be affected as a result of the moves in the Tied Pubs Act (Scotland) 2021.


5. Welsh Holiday Homes Will Need To Be Registered

Again, this is more of something for those in the hospitality industry be aware of, as opposed to something that could directly affect security in the sector, but it’s no less of a concern in that regard. New legislation is set to be brought before the Senedd later this year that seeks to shake up how holiday homes and second properties across Wales are approached.

According to reports from the BBC, the legislation aims to provide greater safety, improve experiences across the board, and to ultimately futureproof the next generation of Welsh holidaymakers.

In the long term, this spells great news for the hospitality and leisure industry, especially given that the new laws are aimed at ensuring people are safer wherever they choose to holiday, especially in currently unregulated services like AirBnB.

Looking shorter-term, however, it may mean that guest numbers see a slight dip, impacting the number of people who visit your hospitality venue, or that attend your event. This in turn feeds into your budget for security and other services which, without the right tailormade hospitality security, can be an additional challenge.


Security At The Cutting Edge With Churchill Support Services

Of course, while these changes are cause to think and consider what the future of the hospitality and leisure sector holds in terms of its legislation, they shouldn’t be a worry. With Churchill Support Services, you’ll always be one step ahead, no matter which pieces of law and legislation come to pass.

We’re consummate experts in securing everything from hotels and hostels, right through to bistros and bingo halls, and we’ve been delivering exceptional levels of quality over the course of our extensive, 28 year history.

We pride ourselves on providing solutions for the hospitality and leisure sector that not only match with the latest developments and changes that could affect the way you conduct your business, but that also align with exactly what you need. Each one of our security solutions is tailormade, meaning you receive a service that’s built with you in the driving seat.

With constant, 24/7 support, available 365 days a year, you’re never far from the ideal solution for your business. Plus, our exceptional pedigree as the UK’s #1 ACS-approved security company means you can rest assured you’re getting an industry-leading level of service, at a price that’s affordable.

Get in touch with our in-house experts today, and we’d be more than happy to provide more information, as well as a completely free, no obligation quotation that takes everything you need into account.

Emily Macaulay

Director of Sales

Emily is responsible for business growth and account development via new sales. She leads the Business Development teams through strategic goals and objectives in line with business targets and strategy. Emily is a friendly, approachable and a respected senior manager at Churchill who always strives to deliver service excellence.