We’ve been campaigning to reduce the use of restraint since 2011 and this has led to national guidance and commitments to reduce its use. But while there are lots of examples of good practice, in some areas people with mental health problems are still subject to restraint on a daily basis.
That’s why we supported the introduction of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill. This Private Members Bill, sponsored by Steve Reed MP, aimed to reduce the use of force specifically in mental health hospitals. Steve Reed introduced the Bill following the sad death of one of his constituents, Seni Lewis, who died after being restrained in a mental health hospital.
We campaigned to encourage MPs to support ‘Seni’s Law’ in Parliament and campaigned for amendments to improve the Bill. The Bill secured Royal Assent at the end of 2018 and is expected to come into force in Spring 2020. It will mean:
- Better training for staff to manage difficult situations.
- Better data, improving transparency and highlighting problem areas.
- Police will need to wear body cameras when called to mental health settings, which can be used in evidence.