Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018
- Other useful legislation. Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 Commencement (No. 1) Regulations 2019 — "These Regulations bring into force on 28/10/19 section 11(3) of the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018, which requires the Secretary of State to consult prior to publishing guidance under section 11(1) about functions under that Act."
- Other useful legislation. Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 (Commencement No. 2) Regulations 2021 — These regulations bring into force on 31/3/22 the Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 except for sections 7 (Statistics prepared by mental health units), 8 (Annual report by the Secretary of State), 12 (Police body cameras), 14 (Transitional provision), and the following provisions which were already in force: section 11(3) (consultation on guidance) which came into force on 28/10/19, and sections 16 (Regulations) and 17 (Commencement, extent and short title) which came into force on 1/11/18.
39 Essex Chambers have kindly agreed for the following summary to be reproduced below. The remainder of the newsletter can be read here: Media:Essex newsletter 90.pdf.
Mental Health (Use of Force) Act
The Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Act 2018 which started life as a private members bill by Labour MP Steve Reed has been granted Royal Assent.
Widely referred to as “Seni’s Law” in reference to Olaseni “Seni” Lewis who died in 2010 having been restrained by 11 police officer at Bethlem Royal Hospital, the Act makes provision for the oversight and management of appropriate force in relation to people in mental health units and other similar units. It requires mental health units to appoint a responsible person who must publish a policy regarding the use of force by staff who work there (s.3(1)), which must include steps taken to reduce the use of force by staff in the unit (s.3(7)). The Act also provides that each responsible person must publish information for patients at a mental health unit about their rights in relation to the use of force by staff (s.4(1)). As a means of effecting greater scrutiny, the Act also provides that the responsible person must maintain a record of the use of force (s.6(1)) which must include, inter alia, records of the patient’s disabilities and mental disorder and whether they suffer from learning disabilities or autism; further, in circumstances where a police officer is going to a mental health unit on duty that involve assisting staff who work there, the police officer must take a body camera if reasonably practicable (s.12).We congratulate all those involved in taking this Bill through to enactment as a law – and trust that implementation will lead to real changes, as opposed to the mere completion of more paperwork.