LONDON – A British police officer who lied about his membership in a banned neo-Nazi group was sentenced to four years and four months in prison on Friday.
Benjamin Hannam – the UK’s first serving police officer convicted of a terrorist offense, according to Reuters – was convicted at London’s Old Bailey Court for previously being a member of the far-right National Action. The group was banned under UK terrorism laws in 2016.
Hannam, 22, has also been convicted of two cases of fraud and two cases of possession of a document believed to be used by a terrorist. in a process in April. He separately pleaded guilty to owning a naughty picture of a child.
Hannan, who is from north London, was a probation officer with the Metropolitan Police, the largest British police force in the London area.
The court heard during the trial that the Met’s counterterrorism officials had linked him to an online profile active on a right-wing extremist forum, the Iron March, frequented by members of National Action.
Download the NBC News App for breaking news and politics
After the police seized his computer and a USB memory stick, they found that he had visited websites linked to National Action, as well as sites related to the listing of prohibited terrorist organizations in the UK.
Investigators also found a manual on how to seriously injure or kill with a knife, as well as a document from Anders Breivik, the right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in a 2011 terrorist attack in Norway.
Prosecutors said Hannam attended a national action meeting in a London pub in 2016 and attended events through the summer of 2017.
In April 2016, before the national action was banned, another user showed interest in the group and according to the public prosecutor’s office Hannam replied: “Always good for more people, means that we can arrange more things, which is just more fun for everyone!”
The verification forms ask potential officials applying to join the Met if they are associated with far-right groups – Hannam said twice that they are not.
His club appears to have ended before his police training began in 2018, but the police do makes clear That previous involvement would have been enough to disqualify him.
Following the April trial, Jenny Hopkins of the Crown Prosecution Service said, “His lies caught up with him and he was exposed as an individual of deeply racist beliefs who also had extremist publications about the use on a terrorist.”
He was found guilty of gross misconduct at an internal police hearing last week had terminated his contract.
Right-wing terrorism is of increasing concern to UK law enforcement agencies. The Home Office said Potential terrorist cases involving suspected right-wing extremists referred to his specialized terrorism prevention service increased by 22 percent by March 2020.