London said an official of the main London police force was convicted on Thursday of a crime committed by a member of a banned neo-Nazi organization. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other British news organizations reported that this conviction is the first time a British police officer has been convicted of terrorism.
Benjamin Hannam, 22, is a probationary police officer. He applied to the London Metropolitan Police in 2017 and joined in early 2018. The person was found guilty of an illegal organization (Nazi organization “National Action”) and two counts. The police said in a briefing that they had committed fraud through false statements and possessed two pieces of information that might be useful to terrorists.
He was convicted because people are increasingly concerned about the infiltration of police right-wing groups and the Metropolitan Police are under pressure to maintain policing tactics. In the United States, the killing of several blacks by the police focused on racism within the police force. In Germany, what is worrying is that right-wing organizations have infiltrated the police, and military officers and soldiers across the country have discovered the use of racist and far-right chat organizations.
“If Benjamin Hannam tells the truth that he is a banned member of the extreme right, he won’t have a job to try out the police station,” said Jeanne Hopkin of the Crown Prosecution Service. Jenny Hopkins said in the agency’s statement.
She said: “His lies caught up with him.” “And he was exposed as someone with a deep racist belief. He also has extremist publications that use terrorists.”
The prosecutor said that Mr. Hannan posted comments on national actions on the online message board and tried to recruit others to join the organization, even after the organization was banned, he participated in the event. The video was shown to him in a promotional video of the group as evidence. National Action praised the murder of British MP Jo Cox, who was considered a terrorist organization and was declared illegal in December 2016. The prosecutor said that the state action “supports homophobia, anti-Semitism and racism, and contributes to violence and racial hatred.”
The trial began in March, but the court has banned reports of its details to avoid the risk of prejudice against future jurors in another case against Mr. Hannam, according to local media. After Mr. Hannan pleaded guilty to possessing an indecent image of a child, these restrictions were lifted, which was originally the subject of the second trial.
According to the police briefing, Mr. Hannan denied in court that he was a member of the organization. He attended a National Action Conference in 2016 and will continue to attend the gathering next year. They said that the police also found evidence that he had visited a website about the organization’s ban in the UK and moved files about the organization to a USB memory stick, which meant he knew of the organization’s illegal behavior.
A manual on how to use a knife to seriously harm or kill someone was also found in his archives, and a document written by the right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Behring Breivik). In 2011, 77 people were killed in a Norwegian bomb and gun rampage, the prosecutor said.
During the trial, Mr. Hannum said that he was interested in the “fascist appearance and aesthetics”, but he was not a racist. According to the BBC, he challenged other group members when making racist comments. .
Professor Alberto Testa, professor of applied criminology at the University of West London, said police forces across Europe are struggling to find infiltration by right-wing extremists, and the UK is not immune. “I don’t think this is surprising.”
He said that the far-right movement is fragmented, and extremist groups often continue to meet even if it is banned. He added that the police may be radicalized after joining the police force. He said: “Declaring a group illegal does not mean that it will be destroyed.”
In order to solve this problem, the police needs better training in terms and symbols to identify extreme right groups. He should also train the personnel in the selection team to discover extreme right groups.
The Metropolitan Police faces charges of racism and discriminatory behavior, and the force said in November that it will recruit more minority police officers to increase representation. British officials expressed concern about the rise in right-wing extremism during the pandemic.
After the anti-fascist leaked the data of the new fascist online forum Iron March, Mr. Hannan’s relationship with national action was discovered.
Richard Smith of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command said on Thursday that he was arrested in March 2020 after police linked the forum’s online profile to his identity. He added that Mr. Hannan was “angered by this toxic ideology and seduced online.” He will be sentenced later this month.
Mr. Smith said: “The public expects the police to perform their duties with the highest level of honesty and integrity.” He said, but Mr. Hannan “did not show these qualities.”