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Issue:- 05 January  2012

Assisted dying:- "Stop the scaremongering" says MEP

CLAIMS that assisted dying legislation would put the lives of thousands of disabled and vulnerable people at risk have been dismissed as "scaremongering nonsense with no basis in fact" by an MEP expert.

A report by the independent commission on assisted dying, chaired by Lord Falconer, out on Thursday, 5 January 2012, calls for doctors to be allowed to respect their patients’ wishes if proper procedures are followed.

But its proposals have already been attacked by groups such as Care Not Killing. They claim that the changes will create a slippery slope leading to the premature deaths of people who feel they are a burden on others.

Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies has written about assisted dying in Switzerland and has made a special study of practices in Belgium and the Netherlands where euthanasia has been legal for more than a decade.

Chris Davies said:- "The law in Belgium and the Netherlands incorporates safeguards to prevent abuse. It commands overwhelming public support and the fears of those who criticised the original proposals have been proven completely unfounded. Less than 2% of all deaths in the Netherlands are attributable to euthanasia, and they most commonly involve cancer patients living at home and in the very last days of their natural lives."

Davies claims that it would be possible for lawmakers here to go further than in Belgium and the Netherlands, and to include as many as 20 different safeguards in assisted dying legislation.

He said:- "Patients who seeks medical assistance to die must be suffering unendurably with no hope of recovery. The hard question for lawmakers is to decide whether they must also be terminally ill, knowing that such a requirement would prevent some people in a state of almost complete paralysis from being able to escape lives that to them are intolerable."

The MEP claims that in Britain the issue has been hijacked by religious groups who have succeeded in preventing change through dogmatic convictions.

Chris Davies added that:- "Palliative care may be good but there will always be some people in distressing circumstances who seek a different option. To deny them the right to exercise their free will is cruel not kind."

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West Derby Shooting on 25 December Update

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirm that the men aged 21, 25 and 30 who had been arrested in connection with a shooting in West Derby, on Sunday, 25 December 2011, have now been bailed pending further enquiries. On Sunday, 25 December 2011, Police officers had been called to attended the West Derby Public House, in West Derby Village, at around 10.15pm, following reports of shots being fired outside. A short time later a 23 year old man presented himself at hospital with gunshot injuries to his leg.  Merseyside Police Officers are still wanting to talk to people who were both in the public house and the area at the time. They would urge anyone who has information about this incident, or who witnessed it, to contact the Matrix on:- 0151 777 5699 or Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.  We have also been told that CCTV from the area is being examined and patrols have been stepped up in the area.

General Enquiry Office Changes In Sefton

IN October 2011, Merseyside Police and Merseyside Police Authority made announcements about a number of changes within the force, to increase police officer visibility on the streets of Merseyside and to meet the reduced budget set by the Government.  This included information about how Merseyside Police is changing the way the public contact the police across the force area.  All police stations will remain open, but as part of cost saving proposals the MPA has agreed a number of changes to General Enquiry Office (GEO) opening times across Sefton.  This means that from Monday, 9 January 2012, Southport Police Station will be open 7 days week and 24 hours a day. March Lane Police Station will act as a sister station, and will be open from 8am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday.

Superintendent Kevin Johnson said:- "In all the changes we have made we have focused on what the public tell us is important; maintaining a visible policing presence, answering your calls within our target time and attending, both emergency and non- emergency calls, within our agreed target time. No police stations will close, but as part of the cost savings, the number of GEOs across the force will reduce from 34 to 12. I would like to reassure our communities that residents in every area will continue to have access to a 24 hour police station within their local area and another that is open from 8am until 10pm."

Members of the community will continue to be able access the police in a variety of ways including face to face, over the phone, community meetings, online and surgeries in libraries and shops. If you have a non-emergency incident to report or want to speak to your local neighbourhood policing team, you can call via the new phone number:- ‘101’. For more information visit:-

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