The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), have announced the new ‘Seni Lewis Award’ in memory of Mr Lewis and to mark his death in 2010.
The national award, which was announced on Thursday, 11 October at the Positive Practice Mental Health Awards 2018 ceremony in Liverpool, will be presented for the first time at the same ceremony in 2019.
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-years-old when he died on Friday, 3 September 2010 following a prolonged period of restraint by police officers on 31 August 2010 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. Mr Lewis’ family are helping us bring about further improvements; working closely with both the MPS and SLaM to ensure that compassionate and high quality care are at the heart of everything we do.”
Dr Michael Holland, Medical Director of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mr Lewis’ death was a tragedy for his family, his friends and his community. In the intervening years there have been many lessons learned and our organisations are committed to continuing the work we have started together. With the Met Police and with the support of Mr Lewis’ family, we are improving our multi-agency response to people who are in crisis and taken to hospital settings. 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.”