On Friday 3rd November, ‘Seni’s Law’, a Private Members Bill brought by Steve Reed MP formally titled the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill, passed through the House of Commons with cross party support. Steve Reed brought the Bill in honour of Olaseni ‘Seni’ Lewis, a 23 year old IT graduate who died as a result of prolonged restraint by police officers whilst a voluntary inpatient at Bethlem Royal Hospital, Croydon in 2010. If enacted, changes the Bill would make include: increased oversight and management of use of force in mental health units, and a requirement that police must wear body cameras when attending these units (more info here). It will also ensure an independent investigation of any restraint related death in a mental health setting.

Seni’s family welcomed the Bill and were joined by Deborah Coles in the gallery in the House of Commons as MPs from across the House declared their support in the second reading.  Steve Reed MP thanked INQUEST for our practical support in writing the Bill, as well as the Lewis family’s lawyer Raju Bhatt, a member of the INQUEST lawyers group. MPs unanimously voted the Bill through its second reading, and it will now go through Committee stage.