A rookie is the first British police officer to be convicted of belonging to a neo-Nazi terrorist organization.
Pc Ben Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership in the banned right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) after a trial at the Old Bailey.
He was also convicted of lying on his application and verification forms to join the Metropolitan Police and having terror records detailing knife fighting and explosive device manufacture.
A jury had considered for more than 32 hours to find Hannam guilty on Thursday.
Judge Anthony Leonard QC lifted a ban on reporting the case after Hannam admitted having a naughty picture of a child who was believed to have been the subject of a separate trial.
Hannam had worked for the Metropolitan Police as a probation officer for nearly two years before he was found in a leaked database of users of the far-right Iron March forum.
He signed up for the forum when he joined the London office of the neo-Nazi group NA in March 2016.
The officer who has autism said he was “desperate to impress an older NA organizer” who gave him free stickers and badges.
Hannam’s association with NA ended before he started working for the Met, and counterterrorism officials acted “swiftly” after he was identified as a suspect.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command, said it was a “one-of-a-kind” case.
He said, “Ben Hannam apparently lied on his application form to join the Met.
“He could never have joined if we had known at the time of his interest in the far-right wing and his previous membership in National Action.
“As soon as we ascertained his involvement in this organization, we immediately took steps to arrest him and bring him to justice.”
He stressed that there was no evidence that Hannam had abused his position “to promote his extremist views”.
NA’s ideology has been described in court as being based on “Aryan purity” and hatred of non-white groups, particularly Jews.
The members revered Adolf Hitler as a “divine figure” and celebrated violence, including war and genocide, the court heard.
In his first post on the Iron March, Hannam wrote that he was “totally influenced” by NA.
He went on to recruit a new member through Iron March and said it was “always good when more people join, which means we can arrange more stuff that is just more fun for everyone!”
He told him that most NA people agreed that the tagline “Hitler was right” was “a little nervous,” but added, “Then again, it’s pretty funny and we all know our attitude towards the great man.”
At the NA National Conference in Liverpool in April 2016, Hannam posed in an official photo on Crosby Beach.
NA was banned on December 16, 2016 after glorifying the murder of MP Jo Cox.
However, in early 2017, Hannam continued to meet high profile people associated with the group.
In January 2017, he traveled to the Swindon pubs where he met NA co-founder Alex Davies and others.
In April 2017, he took part in the outdoor boxing in the woods, which was filmed with Mr. Davies’ camera.
On July 2, he sprayed the symbol for an NA alias – NS131 – in a storm drain on the outskirts of Swindon that was being shot for a promotional video.
In the film you can hear Hannam say: “Do you mind if I throw up my hood, thank you. My hair, my hair identifies me. “
Days later, on July 19, Hannam applied to join Scotland Yard and fraudulently denied ever having been a member of the British National Party “or any similar organization”.
When officers searched his bedroom last year, they found neo-Nazi posters, notes about his membership in NA, and NA badges and business cards.
In May 2014 Hannam had already expressed intolerant views and wrote: “I’m not racist, I just don’t like people whose skin is darker than mine!” (sic) ”
He had two documents on a USB stick that were supposed to be useful to a terrorist.
The mass murderer Anders Breivik’s manifesto contained instructions on how to make radiological, chemical and biological weapons, as well as improvised explosive devices, while the second document detailed how a deadly knife attack can be carried out.
In his defense, Hannam denied ever having been a member of NA before or after it was banned.
He told jurors that he was attracted to fascism at the age of 16 because of his bold artwork, and contacted NA after seeing propaganda online.
Hannam told the judges: “I got the impression that this was a kind of youth network.
“I’ve never looked at NA or done any banner drops. I stayed with social activities.
“Most of the time I went to the pub and took a walk. Other times camping or boxing. “
He denied having read Breivik’s entire manifesto and said he found it “boring”.
Hannam, from Edmonton, North London, is currently suspended from duty.
Checks found “nothing of concern” in his work at the Met and no complaints from colleagues or members of the public about his behavior.
Prior to his arrest, Hannam had an “unremarkable career,” aside from receiving one final gross misconduct warning in 2018 for using his brother’s Oyster card.
Prior to his trial, Hannam had asked Judge Anthony Leonard QC for an indication of the likely sentence if he pleaded guilty.
The judge declined to provide a formal lead, but said that conviction would result in jail time.
Some former Hannam employees have been convicted of their activities.
In 2019, the then 18-year-old Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski from West London received an 18-month arrest and training warrant to encourage an attack on Prince Harry, calling him a “racial traitor”.
That same year, Elliott Richards-Good, 20, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was convicted of racial hatred and sentenced to 16 months in a juvenile detention center.
London office organizer, 25, Mark Jones, 25, located at Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax in West Yorkshire, has been convicted of NA membership and jailed for five and a half years in 2020.