Body cameras will be worn by all police attending mental health settings after 'Seni's Law' cleared its final potential hurdles.

The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill passed its final debate in the House of Lords and then today achieved the formality of receiving Royal Assent.

Seni Lewis died in 2010, aged just 23, after being restrained on a mental health ward by 11 police officers.

At the inquest into Seni’s death, the restraint used was deemed to be excessive, unreasonable and disproportionate.

Seni's family led tireless campaigning to change the law around the use of force.

The new law will mean:

Police will need to wear body cameras when called to mental health settings, which can be used in evidence.

Mental health hospitals must actively take steps to reduce the use of force against patients, including by providing better training on managing difficult situations.

Better data will now have to be collected, to facilitate the monitoring of progress and highlighting of any problem areas.


“In the last ten years in England, we’ve seen a 47 per cent rise in the Mental Health Act being used to detain people," said Helena Brown, Parliamentary and Campaigns Manager at Mind. 

"It’s appalling that people from some black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are still much more likely to be sectioned than those from white backgrounds."

"The increase in detentions demonstrates that the Act, and wider mental health care, fails to support people when they are acutely unwell, especially people from BAME communities. The passing of this law will take us a step closer to tackling the inequalities still embedded in today’s mental health care."