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New ‘Seni Lewis Award’ to recognise collaborative work between police and health service

PUBLISHED: 16:24 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:24 12 October 2018

Olaseni Lewis and his grandmother. Picture: Met Police

Olaseni Lewis and his grandmother. Picture: Met Police

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A new ‘Seni Lewis Award’ has been announced by the Metropolitan Police in memory of Olaseni Lewis, who died at a Beckenham hospital in 2010.

The national award is being introduced in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), and was announced on Thursday, October 11 at the Positive Practice Mental Health Awards 2018 ceremony.

The award will recognise the best collaborative initiatives between the police and health services, to showcase the importance of providing a multi-agency response to mental health crises.

Mr Olaseni Lewis was 23 when he died on September 3 2010 following a prolonged period of restraint by police officers days before, whilst he was a patient at Bethlem Royal Hospital, suffering a mental health crisis.

Seni’s parents, Aji and Conrad Lewis, said: “When Seni became ill, we took him to hospital which we thought was the best place for him.

“We shall always bear the cross of knowing that, instead of the help and care he needed, Seni met with his death in circumstances where he was failed by the hospital and the police alike.

“We don’t want any other family to suffer as we have suffered.

“We don’t want anyone else to go through what our son went through. That is why we took the initiative to propose this award in Seni’s name, and we welcome it in his memory, in the hope that the police and health services throughout the country learn to recognise in practice that what happened to Seni is simply unacceptable.”

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said: “This award will recognise outstanding collaborative work between the police and health service, which improves the multi-agency response to mental health crises.

“The death of Olaseni Lewis was a tragedy which raised a number of important issues, resulting in lessons being learnt and improvements to policies and training in this area.

Dr Michael Holland, medical director of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This award will recognise those who work together who do everything possible to collaborate so that safe, high quality care can be delivered working in partnership.”

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