Met Police officer convicted for membership of banned neo-Nazi terrorist group

Emma Powys Maurice
·3-min read

A neo-Nazi recruiter who became a Metropolitan police officer is facing jail after he was convicted of being a member of a banned terrorist organisation.

Benjamin Hannam, 22, from Edmonton in north London is believed to be the first British police officer ever convicted of a terror offence.

He was also was found guilty of two counts of fraud for lying on his Met Police application and having terror documents detailing knife combat and explosive devices.

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.

They found he had downloaded a knife-fighting manual and a copy of the “manifesto” of the right-wing extremist Anders Breivik, who massacred 77 people, mostly children, in Norway in 2011.

Prosecutors said the Breivik document included bomb-making instructions and “exhaustive justifications for his mass-casualty attacks”.

The officer also admitted to possessing a prohibited image of a child, which will be addressed in a separate trial. Reporting restrictions were imposed so that the jury for that case wouldn’t swayed by the terror offence.

The court heard that Benjamin Hannam became involved with the neo-Nazi group National Action in 2016 and continued activities with a successor group after it was banned in December of that year.

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

“Hannam continued to meet with like-minded individuals at what were clearly National Action events, well after the group had been proscribed,” prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds told the court.

“He had been a member, and active recruiter before proscription, and continued to be so afterwards, whilst taking precautions to move and conceal incriminating evidence.”

Despite his involvement in neo-Nazi groups and connections with several convicted members, Hannam passed all vetting checks when he applied to join the Metropolitan Police in July 2017 and started as a trainee on 26 March 2018.

His school had raised concerns about his extremist views, but the Met confirmed that no school reference was sought during the application and vetting process.

Hannam completed training and was a probationary constable in an emergency response team by the time of his arrest on 5 March, 2020. He was only exposed as a former member of National Action because anti-fascists leaked data from the fascist Iron March forum.

Scotland Yard said no officers had raised concerns about his ideology or behaviour over Hannam’s two years of service, and were “shocked” by the investigation.

In a witness statement one of Hannam’s superiors said he had not drawn attention “for anything other than being immature and a slow learner”.

The court heard that the Met Police officer is “on the autism spectrum” and was socially isolated, had few friends, and lived at home with his mother and siblings.

He was released on conditional bail as a “courtesy” ahead of his sentencing on 23 April.