Recently an e-petition was submitted to the UK government calling for the prohibition of the use of Narconon by the police force. The petition text read as follows:
The Times detailed, on the 20th Jan 2008, that the “Church” of Scientology is exploiting the British Police to distribute materials with no basis in fact. I quote: “Officers have been handing out booklets that praise the science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, the church’s founder, and describe both prescription and illegal drugs as “poison”.” This is irresponsible at best, and at worst, manipulating the Police to promote a commercial organisation. These “anti-drug leaflets” are nothing of the sort- the charity DrugScope said “These booklets… should not be allowed in schools.” The booklets went so far as to claim that Scientology’s version of drug “therapy” was “the safest, most effective – and only – detoxification procedure of its kind”. This is, of course, a complete untruth. In conclusion, leave drugs policies to the experts, and sever any future links between the Police and any other commercial organisations.
This is a reference to the article “Scientologists enlist police to push antidrugs drive in school,” published in The Times on 20th January of this year, not exactly a lifetime away. The government responded today, as follows:
You have signed an e-Petition about severing links between the Church of Scientology and the British Police.
The day-to-day management, use of resources, policies and deployment of staff are operational matters, and so they are the responsibility of the Chief Constable of each individual police force.
Your petition may relate to news reports about the City of London Police using scientologist drugs literature, or supporting a scientologist drugs campaign. In response to these reports, the City of London Police issued the follow statement:
“The City of London Police has not given any support to drugs campaigns, nor have we endorsed their drugs education and rehabilitation programmes. There are no plans for the Force to work with Scientologists on any programme in the future.”
You will see, therefore, that there are in fact no ‘links’ that need to be severed.
There are two major problems with this response:
1. The petition did not refer to any one police force, but instead to “British police”.
2. The article in question referred not to the City of London police, but to the Metropolitan police, making only a passing reference to the City at the end in reference to a previous scandal in which the cult was revealed to be bribing police officers.
In short, the “response” does not respond to anything at all, but combines a brushoff with false information.
One can only hope this is simple government inefficiency.
– The petition (and response), http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page15283.asp
– The Times article, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article3216965.ece
– Previous incident with the City of London police, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/nov/22/freedomofinformation.religion