Serving probationary Met police officer, 21, charged with being member of far-right terrorist group National Action

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A MET Police officer has been charged with allegedly being a member of far-right terrorist group National Action.

Benjamin Hannam, 21, a serving probation officer, from North London, has been charged with five offences.

Hannam was arrested following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command and has been suspended from duty.

The force confirmed the officer has been been charged with offences including belonging to National Action between December 17, 2016 and January 1, 2018.

Cops described the alleged offences as “extremely serious” and “deeply concerning”.

He has also been charged with two counts of false representation by stating he had not been a member of “an organisation similar to the BNP” on both his application to the police and a subsequent police vetting form “intending to make gain for himself”.

Hannam was also charged with possession of an indecent photograph of a child and possession of a prohibited photograph of a child.

He has been released on bail to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 6.

Detective Superintendent Ella Marriott, Acting North Area Basic Command Unit Commander, said: “These are extremely serious charges for anyone to face, and I fully understand and appreciate how deeply concerning it might be for the public, and particularly local communities here in north London, that the charges are against a serving police officer.”

She said integrity is “fundamental” to policing and said any officer suspected of displaying extremist behaviours or associations should rightly expect to be investigated.

Det Supt Marriott added: “This significant investigation has been swift in reaching this position.

“However, following the charges today, I am aware how vital it is that the prosecution runs its course and the importance of not undermining or prejudicing the case and judicial process.”

National Action was founded in 2013 and described itself as a “National Socialist youth organisation” aimed at the “broken right-wing”

In December 2016, then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd added the group to the list of banned organisations under the Terrorism Act 2000.

She said at the time: “National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it.

“It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”

National Action was made a proscribed group as it has been assessed to be “concerned in terrorism”.

Mrs Rudd decided to ban the group before the trial of Jo Cox’s killer Thomas Mair, but in the wake of his conviction, warnings emerged of signs that the terror threat from the extreme right could be growing.

She said groups have become “increasingly sophisticated” in the use of social media for promotion and for recruitment.

Around a quarter of the cases being handled by the Government’s counter-extremism programme Channel are for right-wing radicalisation.

The banning order against National Action has also been widened after authorities identified two aliases for the movement – Scottish Dawn and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action).

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