Benjamin Hannam, a 22-year-old from Edmonton in North London, was suspended from duty by the Metropolitan Police after it was alleged that he belonged or professed to belong to the proscribed group between December 2016 and January 2018 and that he falsely represented himself in his application to join the Metropolitan Police in this connection.
Mr Hannam becomes the first police officer to be convicted of far-right terrorism after being found guilty at the Old Bailey today of membership in National Action, lying on his application to join the police and possessing guides to knife-fighting and bombmaking. It is understood that the ban on reporting the case was lifted after Mr Hannam admitted possessing an indecent image of a child.
It is understood that Mr Hannam, who reportedly has autism, was “desperate to impress” an older National Action organiser who gave him free stickers, but he ended his association with the organisation before he joined the Metropolitan Police.
The Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, which carried out the investigation, emphasised that there is no evidence that Mr Hannam abused his position at the police force to further his far-right views.
Mr Hannam had denied being a member of National Action before or after it was proscribed, and told the court that he had been attracted to fascism aged sixteen because of its artwork and propaganda and was under the impression that it was a youth network. He denied engaging in any stickering or propaganda campaigns and insisted that he only attended social events.
Mr Hannam’s sentencing is expected soon.
National Action was proscribed as a terrorist organisation in December 2016 following a long campaign by Campaign Against Antisemitism and others. Under section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000, membership of a proscribed terrorist organisation is a criminal offence.
Image credit: Metropolitan Police