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Source: Dignity in Dying
A big development this week as 18 police and crime commissioners have written to the Secretary of State for Justice calling for an inquiry into the the current law on assisted dying. This ground breaking intervention shows the current law is unsafe and virtually unenforceable.
This follows the news that Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Rob Hogg, has been diagnosed with terminal motor neurone disease and is campaigning for a more compassionate law.
We've always known the current law is failing people, forcing some to suffer against their wishes and others to take drastic action to control their death. But we've constantly been told by some MPs that the law is sympathetic and compassionate!
This announcement by police and crime commissioners shatters that illusion.
We all agree that vulnerable people must be protected, that is not happening under the status quo. The ban on assisted dying merely drives the practice behind closed doors and abroad, with seriously ill people often ending their lives prematurely for fear of becoming too ill to act.
There is a scattergun approach to enforcing the law. Either there is no scrutiny at all or loving family members are criminalised for acts of compassion. How can the law be working well when it forces people to endure distressing and intrusive investigations at great cost to the tax payer?
When half of police and crime commissioners across the country recognise that a law is not working, law-makers have a duty to listen.
It is time for a Ministry of Justice-led inquiry into the blanket ban on assisted dying.
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