independent.ie– The first British police officer to be convicted of being in a neo-Nazi terrorist group has been jailed for more than four years.
Ben Hannam (22), was found guilty of membership of banned right-wing extremist group National Action (NA) in 2016 until September 2017, following a trial at the Old Bailey.
He had been a probation officer for the Metropolitan Police for nearly two years before he was found on a leaked database of users of far right-wing forum Iron March and arrested last year.
Hannam, who pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child, was also convicted of lying on his application and vetting forms to join the force and having terror documents about knives and making explosive devices.
He had fraudulently denied he had ever been a member of the British National Party “or similar organisation”.
Judge Anthony Leonard QC sentenced Hannam, who was last week sacked by the force for gross misconduct, to a total of four years and four months yesterday, 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.”
The court heard that as early as May 2014, Hannam had expressed intolerant views, writing: “I’m not racist, I just don’t like people who’s (sic) skin is darker than mine!”
In March 2016, Hannam signed up to Iron March when he joined the London branch of neo-Nazi group NA.
Hannam, who has autism, told jurors he was “desperate to impress” an older NA organiser who gave him free stickers and badges.
When officers searched his bedroom in March last year, they found Nazi-style posters, notes detailing his membership of NA, as well and badges and business cards.
He had stored on a USB stick two documents said to be useful to a terrorist.