London police give Scientology access to data on security alerts

The Metropolitan Police have agreed to give the Church of Scientology privileged information on security, the Evening Standard can reveal.

Under the agreement, the Met has placed the church on the database of groups provided with “current, fast-time” details about safety matters.

The revelation will raise further questions about police links with the sect of which John Travolta and Tom Cruise are devotees and which has entertained City of London officers on several occasions.

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The Standard has also learned that the sect may be given a prime role in a major emergency, among groups called upon in the event of a critical incident.

According to documents, the church has offered to be included on the list drawn up by the London Resilience Team, responsible for coordinating the response to an emergency.

Critics fear the move is an attempt by the sect founded by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard to gain respectability.

Followers were among the first on the scene offering support during the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks.

A request for information by Heather Brooke of Your Right To Know discloses the Scotland Yard met sect members in November after which Chief Superintendent Ed Bateman wrote to the church’s Lord McNair to thank him for “constructive offers of support”.

The letter continued: “The church, and your personal details, have been placed on our faith stakeholder database we would seek to pass on information or seek your support.” It added that the church would be sent ” current, fast-time information” on safety via the Police Message Broadcasting System.

Last April, City of London officers received invitations to the premiere of Mission: Impossible III starring Cruise and a Pounds 500a-head charity dinner.

The force also had free use of a Pounds 5,000a-night jazz band for a police function.

Ian Haworth, general secretary of the Cult Information Centre, said: “I would be very interested to know if the police do the same for the Moonies, Hare Krishna and other groups about which concern has been expressed.”

Mr Haworth was also concerned about it working with London Resilience.

He said: “Scientology has never managed to achieve charitable status as a religion in this country.

“It could use the administration of ministry at a time of emergency to gain respectability.”

A spokesman for London Resilience Team said the church was not on its Faith Working Group, but it was “keen to ensure the Group is representative”.

A spokesman for the church said: “We have a large international team of volunteer ministers who have assisted at most of the major disasters of the past decade. They have been embraced and endorsed by numerous emergency services and officials.”

A Met spokeswoman said: “The church asked to be placed on a database of groups and individuals that are provided with regular bulletins.

“They do not receive confidential or sensitive material … contact details are retained to be given to victims of crime who request their support.”

• Original title: Met Allows Cruise’s Sect Access to Data on Security Alerts


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Jason Beattie, Evening Standard, Mar. 20, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday March 21, 2007.
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