Ben Hannam: British police officer jailed for four years for belonging to neo-Nazi terror group

A British police officer convicted of belonging to a neo-Nazi terrorist group has been jailed for four years and four months.

Benjamin Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership of right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) between 2016 and September 2017 following a trial at the Old Bailey.

He has been sacked by the Metropolitan Police for gross misconduct.

He had been working as a probationary officer for nearly two years before his name was discovered on a leaked database of users on extreme right-wing forum Iron March and he was arrested last year.

After the police constable’s arrest in March last year, detectives found an image on his iPhone showing him in police uniform, with a Hitler-style moustache superimposed on his face and a Nazi badge on his lapel.

On 1 April, Hannam was found guilty at the Old Bailey of being a member of NA, along with two counts of possessing documents useful for terrorism and for fraud.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC sentenced Hannam to a total of four years and four months on Friday, with an extra one-year licence period.

"I consider what you did to be very serious and you have harmed public trust in the police by your deceit," the judge told him.

"I accept your politics… played absolutely no part in your policing and you provided value for the salary you obtained.

"And I do not believe you had any plans to infiltrate yourself into the police force so as to be useful to the far right at any stage. There is absolutely no evidence for that."

Investigators also found that he had downloaded a knife-fighting manual and a copy of the "manifesto" of the right-wing extremist Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people, mostly children, in bomb and gun attacks in Norway in 2011.

The Breivik document included bomb-making instructions and "exhaustive justifications for his mass-casualty attacks", according to prosecutors.

Hannam worked with the emergency response team in Haringey, north London, and joined the Met Police in March 2018.

NA was proscribed by the government as a terrorist group on 16 December 2016.

But during the trial, the jury heard that on 15 January 2017, Hannam travelled to Swindon to meet other members of the group.

He attended a number of meetings with group members in the following months and participated in a filming session for a video promoting an off-shoot of National Action called NS131.

Those activities took place just weeks before he applied to join the Metropolitan Police in July 2017.

Hannam told the court his interest in fascism started because he liked the "bold look" of Nazi propaganda posters.

He said he suffered from autism, which made him obsessive about downloading material.

When police searched his bedroom after his arrest they found a number of Nazi propaganda posters on his bedroom wall.

Aisla Williamson, defending Hannam, said his autism made him "vulnerable" to targeting and grooming by NA.

She said he was arrested some three years after his involvement with the group came to an end and that he joined the police, was baptised into the Church of Latter-Day Saints and went on to form long-term relationships.

"There is no evidence at all he brought extremist views to his work as a police officer," she said.

"There is clear evidence of a change of mindset. That is both through his work as a police officer and his involvement in the church."

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