British police officer convicted of membership of neo-Nazi organization

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Benjamin Hannam was found guilty on all five charges by the jury on Thursday, a representative of London’s Central Criminal Court told CNN.

These charges include membership of the banned National Action group, making a false application to join the police force by not disclosing his membership of said group and the possession of indecent photographs of a child.

The 22-year-old was serving as a probationary officer in London’s Metropolitan Police force and is the first police officer to be convicted of belonging to a far right terror group, according to the UK’s PA Media news agency.

“The public expect police officers to carry out their duties with the very highest levels of honesty and integrity,” said Commander Richard Smith of the Met’s counterterrorism unit in a press release Thursday.

“Sadly, PC Hannam showed none of these qualities, firstly by joining and engaging with a far-right proscribed organisation, and then when he lied about his past links to this group when applying to become a police officer.”

Hannam arrives at the Old Bailey court on August 14, 2020.

Hannam came to the attention of counterterrorism detectives in February last year during investigations into far-right groups, said the force in the press release, before he was arrested the following month.

Police said they found documents on a USB memory stick and other digital devices which linked Hannam to far-right groups. A folder on the memory stick was named “NA” and contained files related to National Action.

He also took his involvement offline, attending a meeting of the banned group in a pub in London in March 2016 and various other events until summer 2017, police said.

National Action became the first far-right group to be banned under Britain’s terror laws in December 2016. It is a criminal offense in the UK to be a member of the organization, which has been described by the country’s Home Office as “virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic.”

Judge Anthony Leonard is set to hand down sentencing later this month.

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