Friday, 16 April 2021 08:08 GMT

London policeman found guilty for links with neo-Nazi terror group


(MENAFN - IANS)

London, April 2 (IANS) A London Metropolitan Police officer has been found guilty after acting as a recruiter for a banned neo-Nazi terrorist group, local media reported.

Benjamin Hannam, 22, is the first police officer in Britain to be convicted of involvement in far-right terrorism, Xinhua news agency.

Hannam was arrested in March last year before being found guilty by the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales in London, known as the Old Bailey, for being a member of National Action, a proscribed terrorist organization, along with two counts of possessing documents useful for terrorism and for fraud.

He was released on conditional bail ahead of sentencing on April 23.

"Obviously there will be some concern that somebody who was a member of a group like National Action was able to become a member of Metropolitan Police Service but once we had identified that fact we acted very swiftly," Commander Richard Smith, head of the Counter-Terrorism Command of the Scotland Yard (metonym for the headquarters of the Met Police), told Sky News on Thursday.

"Clearly having a mindset of that type is completely incompatible with being a police officer," Smith said.

"We are highly concerned that we have a serving police officer who has previously been a member of a proscribed organisation such as National Action and we have followed every line of inquiry as you would expect us to do so."

After Hannam's arrest, police found an image on his iPhone showing him in police uniform, with a Hitler-style mustache superimposed on his face and a Nazi badge on his lapel.

He was also found to have downloaded a copy of the "manifesto" of the right-wing extremist Anders Breivik, who murdered more than 70 people, mostly children, in bomb and gun attacks in Norway in 2011.

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

Hannam joined the Metropolitan Police, the police service for the Greater London area, in March 2018.

--IANS

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