A Metropolitan Police officer who became the first cop in the UK to be convicted of belonging to a neo-Nazi terrorist organisation was kicked out of the force today.
Benjamin Hannam, 22, joined banned far-right organisation National Action in 2017 but failed to declare his extremist beliefs during the police vetting process.
Hannam started at the Met as a trainee on March 26, 2018 and was paid £66,000 in wages before his secrets came to light.
Benjamin Hannam, 22, joined banned far-right organisation National Action in 2017 and began training with the Metropolitan Police in March 2018
Following his arrest last March officers seized a USB stick from his home which contained manuals detailing the production of biological weapons
Hannam, circled, was convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey of terrorism offences following a three-week trial
Following his arrest last March officers seized a USB stick from his home which contained manuals detailing the production of biological weapons.
He had a copy of the manifesto of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who killed 69 people in a mass shooting at a summer camp in 2011 and other fascist publications.
Hannam was convicted by an Old Bailey jury of terrorist offences after a three-week trial.
He had admitted possessing indecent and prohibited images of children after the jury retired to consider their verdicts in his terrorism trial.
Hannam was also convicted of fraud by false representation by failing to disclose his membership of National Action.
A Metropolitan Police misconduct tribunal was told today Hannam accepted possessing the prohibited images but continued to deny being a member of the terrorist group.
He had admitted possessing indecent and prohibited images of children after the jury retired to consider their verdicts in his terrorism trial
But Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said that she was ‘more than satisfied’ he had committed the offences for which he had been convicted.
Finding Hannam guilty of gross misconduct, AC Ball said: ‘My decision PC Hannam is dismissed without notice.’
The tribunal was told that Hannam had already received a final written warning for another matter at the time of his arrest.
‘Because the final warning was in place at the time, I couldn’t give a second final warning and I couldn’t extend the first one,’ said AC Ball.
‘If this situation did not exist and I had been able to grant a final written warning, I would not have done so.’
She added: ‘I believe that the provision of a final written warning during his short service is an aggravating factor.’
AC Ball said that Hannam’s behaviour was ‘wholly antithetical to the values’ of the Met and ‘discredited’ himself and the service.
‘In behaving as he did, he has without question harmed the public’s trust and the reputation of the Metropolitan Police Service,’ she said.
‘He had a chance not to do this and to stop at every stage, but he didn’t make the right choice.’
Hannam was not present, and not represented, as his career was ended.
The extremist, pictured centre left, had told jurors his grandfather was gay, his step-granddad was Jewish, and that he had dated a Muslim girl at school in a bid to hide his intolerance
The extremist had told jurors his grandfather was gay, his step-granddad was Jewish, and that he had dated a Muslim girl at school in a bid to hide his intolerance.
He claimed he suffered autism and turned to the far-right group because he ‘struggled socially’ and wanted to make friends.
In a diary Hannam kept throughout his time with the proscribed organisation, he described its members as a ‘good bunch of lads’.
He accepted in his evidence that he’d taken a camping trip with them and travelled to Swindon for a meet-up but claimed he was oblivious to the extent of their views.
Dan Pawson-Pounds, prosecuting, had told jurors Hannam’s ‘activities with National Action were not limited to the online world and he recorded a meeting with the group in Paddington, on 6 March 2016, in his diary’.
Hannam wrote: ‘Me and five others meet with an National Action, official called Ivan.
‘We all went to a nearby pub and had some drinks (coke for me).
‘They’re a good bunch of lads and Ivan is a strong character, can’t wait to get more involved.
‘Meet was from 3.30pm till 6.00pm’. He added at a later date, ‘Guys at first meet: Ivan, David, John, Tom, Charlie, Iilya and me’.
The prosecutor said: ‘Perhaps unsurprisingly, in light of that diary entry, Benjamin Hannam accepts that he was at that National Action meeting.
‘The same is true of the National Action 2016 conference, held on 23 April 2016 in Liverpool.
‘Indeed, Benjamin Hannam posed for an official National Action conference photograph, together with five other men holding the National Action flag on Crosby Beach, just north of Liverpool.’
Detectives found electronic copies of two documents on a USB stick belonging to Hannam.
‘There is no dispute by the defence that one of these documents contained information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism – namely guidance on how to produce a number of radiological, chemical and biological weapons, and improvised explosive devices (‘IEDs’).
‘The other document on Benjamin Hannam’s USB stick provided, as you will see, detailed guidance on how to carry out a fatal attack with a knife.
‘You will be aware from your own knowledge of current affairs that knives have been used to lethal effect in terrorist attacks throughout the world, including in this city.
Hannam had applied to join the police on 19 July 2017, starting as a trainee on 26 March 2018.
‘As part of the application process he, like all applicants, had to fill in both an application form and a vetting form.
‘Both forms ask whether the applicant has ever been a member of the British National Party, a far-right, fascist political party, although not a proscribed organisation in its own right, or a similar organisation, “whose constitution, aims, objectives, or pronouncements may contradict police officers’ duty to promote race equality”.
‘On any view, National Action is one such organisation. Benjamin Hannam answered ‘no’ to these questions on both forms.
‘Benjamin was well aware of what the BNP was, must have known that his membership of National Action, either before or after proscription, was caught by these questions and, in answering “no” deliberately misled the police.
‘Had he answered “yes”, as he would have well known, his application would have been rejected, and the £66,000 spent employing him, before this falsehood was discovered, would not have been lost.’
Hannam, of Enfield, denied but was convicted of membership of a proscribed organisation, two counts of fraud by false representation and two counts of possession of terrorist documents.
He admitted one count of possession of a prohibited image of a child and one count of possession of an indecent image of a child.
Hannam remains on bail ahead of sentence at the Old Bailey on April 30.