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The met has commissioned an independent review on people in police custody suffering with mental health conditions

Date: (24 September 2012)    |    

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An independent review has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Police into how it responds to people with mental health conditions.
A panel would examine every case during the last five years where a person suffering mental health problems had either or been seriously injured after police contact.
This commission has followed after criticism over the Met's actions prior to the deaths in custody of Olaseni Lewis and Sean Rigg.
Both men were suffering mental illness.
Olaseni Lewis, known as Seni, was a 23-year-old IT graduate with a degree from Kingston University who had planned to undertake postgraduate study. He died in 2010 after collapsing during prolonged restraint by police.
Mr Rigg, 40, died at Brixton Police Station in 2008. An inquest had found police used "unsuitable" force.
After his inquest, a report by police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Sean Rigg's death was a symptom of a deeper problem linked with mental illness and deaths in or following police custody.
The commission will be led by Lord Adebowale, chief executive of the social enterprise Turning Point.
Call handling and custody procedures are also to be examined, in addition to the Met's relationship with other organisations such as the London Ambulance Service while dealing with mentally ill people.
Help of the families of mentally ill people who have died after encountering the police were also being invited to contribute.
Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said that a number of cases which have been highlighted concerns with how police respond to people with mental health conditions.
He added that he wanted to know that everything being done by the met was being done in the right way. That is why the commission was called to get an independent review.
Lord Adebowale said he welcomed the commissioner's commitment to improve practice in the concerned area.
What was important was to get to the truth of the matter and remove any excuses for not taking the chance to improve practice.
He added that he entered this review, carefully with an open mind, with clarity of focus and driven by facts.
The commission's recommendations are to be presented to the Met in February 2013. Its report will then be made public.

 

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