AS DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions, I am calling on readers to give their views on my interim policy on assisted suicide.
I am publishing the factors taken into account when deciding whether or not to allow prosecutions for assisted suicide.
I am keen for as many people as possible to take part in this debate.
I recognise how sensitive this area of law is, and I respect the fact that there are many people who hold strong views on assisted suicide. I want to hear those views and that is why I have launched a public consultation.
By considering as many opinions as possible, I can produce a final policy which is true to both the law and public feeling.
Assisting suicide has been a criminal offence in the UK for nearly 50 years, and my policy does nothing to change that.
There are also no guarantees against prosecution and it is my job to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected, while at the same time giving enough information to people who want to be able to make informed decisions about what actions they may choose to take. I also want to make it perfectly clear that this policy does not, in any way, permit euthanasia. The taking of life by another person is murder or manslaughter - which are among the most serious criminal offences.
Anyone who wishes to view the policy and complete the consultation document can visit www.cps.gov.uk or write to the Assisted Suicide Policy Team, Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters, 6th floor, 50 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7EX to obtain a copy. The closing date for responses is December 16 and the finalised policy will be issued in spring 2010.
KEIR STARMER QC Crown Prosecution Service