A British police officer was sentenced to more than four years in jail for membership of the banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action.
A judge told Ben Hannam, 22, that he had harmed public trust in the police over his links to the organisation, which glorified Hitler and the Holocaust.
Hannam, the first British police officer jailed for terrorism, was sacked last week by London’s Metropolitan Police for gross misconduct. His extremist links emerged after he had worked for the force for nearly two years.
National Action was proscribed for promoting acts of terrorism after the murder of Jo Cox, a British MP, by a right-wing extremist in June 2016.
Hannam's racist and extremist sympathies were revealed after a database was leaked that revealed personal details of users of the extreme right-wing online forum Iron March.
"I consider what you did to be very serious and you have harmed public trust in the police by your deceit, Judge Anthony Leonard said as he sentenced Hannam to four years and four months in prison.
“I do not believe you had any plans to infiltrate yourself into the police force so as to be useful to the far-right at any stage. There is absolutely no evidence for that.”
Senior police said that Hannam’s police career was undistinguished but a review had not uncovered any evidence that his racist or extremist views led to any miscarriage of justice.
But a police search of his home found a photo of him wearing a police uniform with a Hitler-style moustache superimposed on his face.
Officers found a memory stick containing extremist documents. They included a guide on how to use knives in combat, and a manifesto compiled by Anders Breivik before he killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting attack in Norway.
Hannam applied to join the Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force, in July 2017, only months after attending a series of National Action events including a boxing training camp. He submitted vetting forms in October but made no mention of his right-wing links.
Police said that any known involvement with National Action by Hannam ended by October 2017, six months before he became a probationer with the Met.
Hannam’s legal team said that his autism meant he was vulnerable to grooming and that he ended his involvement with the group three years before his arrest.
“This is a unique case and today’s sentence reflects the gravity of the offences committed by former PC Hannam," Commander Richard Smith of the Metropolitan Police said.
"Hannam joined and engaged with a right-wing terrorism organisation, whose views are the antithesis of police values.
“This case illustrates the real and immediate risk posed by hate-filled ideologies and those who promote them online and elsewhere.”