By Isabel Ringrose
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Nazi cop jailed under terror law

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Issue 2753
Metropolitan police officers monitor a protest in Marble Arch, London
Metropolitan police officers monitor a protest in Marble Arch, London (Pic: Callum Darragh/Flickr)

A British police officer has been jailed for four years and four months for being a neo‑Nazi.

PC Benjamin Hannam is the first officer to ever be convicted of terror offences. He had been a probationary officer in Haringey, north London, for almost two years and has now been dismissed.

Hannam was found guilty in April of having membership with the fascist group National Action (NA) between 2016 and 2017.

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He also participated in a video promoting NS131—a successor group to NA after it was banned—and has been identified in multiple pictures sporting Nazi gear and saluting.

Police claim his involvement was over by December 2017. But this was just three months before he started police training in March 2018.

And his involvement didn’t end with his membership of fascist groups. After his arrest in March 2020 Nazi content was found on Hannam’s computer.

There he had downloaded a knife-fighting manual and work by Nazi Anders Breivik that included bomb-making instructions. His bedroom was filled with Nazi memorabilia.

Hannam was also active in online fascist forums. Investigations into Hannam’s activities only began when material was leaked from the forum by anti-fascists.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC told the court, “I accept your politics… played absolutely no part in your policing and you provided value for the salary you obtained.”

Yet a former teacher told the courts she had been unable to mark one of Hannam’s essays because of “concerning content” and his “intolerance” towards Islam.

He was also disciplined over “anti-immigration” views. The Met never asked the school for a reference.

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The jury was sworn in on Monday of last week, and PC Benjamin Monk pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter. His colleague PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith has already pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Both were charged following a three year inquiry into Atkinson’s death.

Atkinson died of cardiac arrest in an ambulance following the use of force and Tasering by West Mercia police in Telford, Shropshire.

According to Inquest, no police officer has been found guilty of murder or manslaughter following a death in police contact or custody in England and Wales since the charity began recording in 1990.

The ten cases which brought charges against cops have collapsed or seen police acquitted.

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