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It is unclear what steps the NSW Police Force will take to prevent potential breaches of the legislation (ABC News/Dan Cox)

Police in New South Wales lack protocols to deal with incidents of vulnerable people, such as the elderly, being put under pressure to request voluntary euthanasia. Source: The Australian.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 No 17 came into effect in NSW last week, allowing individuals to legally request VAD from their doctor.

The Computerised Operational Policing System (CoPS) is the NSW Police Force’s operational database, which detects and records offenders, victims and incidents requiring police action.

NSW MLC Greg Donnelly was a vocal advocate against the passing of VAD laws in NSW, and has since been pushing for Police Commissioner Karen Webb and Police Minister Yasmin Catley to take immediate action to update CoPS and develop an operational protocol for how police will address reports of individuals being pressured into euthanasia.

At this stage it is unclear what steps the NSW Police Force will take to prevent potential breaches or deal with breaches, such as individuals being put under duress or pressure to request VAD.

“We know based on case studies of other Australian jurisdictions that doctors and others have been made aware of, or heard first hand, conversations between adult children and their parents in hospital, where the adult children suggest (to their parents) that they should consider going down the path of VAD,” Mr Donnelly said.

“If an elderly person rang their local suburban police station and spoke to a policeman about the pressure and duress they were being exposed to by a son or daughter to go down the path of VAD, what would the police say and do to the individual? How will the enquiry be managed by NSW Police? The potential consequence of not dealing with the enquiry immediately is obvious,” he said.

In response to Mr Donnelly’s letter, Ms Catley confirmed updates to CoPS for voluntary assisted dying were being addressed.


NSW Police not set up to address incidents of pressured Voluntary Assisted Dying (By Natasha Robinson and Grace Ellen MacPherson, The Australian)