Met officer arrested on suspicion of belonging to banned rightwing group
Frontline constable, 21, suspected of membership of group linked to terrorism
A Metropolitan police officer has been arrested on suspicion of being a member of a banned group linked to rightwing terrorism.
The constable, 21, was held by counter-terrorism officers on Thursday at an address in north London, where a search is being carried out. The officer, who works in “frontline policing”, has been taken to a south London police station where he remains in custody.
The arrest relates to suspected membership of a proscribed organisation linked to rightwing terrorism, but the Met said there is nothing to suggest there is any threat to the wider public.
Scotland Yard said the force’s directorate of professional standards has been told and the officer’s status is under review. Recruits are supposedly vetted before starting as police constables and senior officers felt they had measures in place to stop infiltration by extremist groups.
Last year the Guardian revealed that a suspected far-right sympathiser was feared to be at large in the Met, after managing to scrawl, undetected, a swastika in a secure area of a police station. The culprit has not been caught and the discovery shocked ethnic minority and other staff.
The swastika was found in February 2019 drawn on an inside wall at Edmonton police station in Enfield, north London, in an area only accessible to officers and staff.
Counter-terror chiefs have described the far right as the fastest-growing terror threat. The British military has put in extra measures amid concerns about attempts at far-right infiltration and concern about some forces’ apparent support for extremist figures such as Tommy Robinson.
The case has been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog.
The arrest comes after MPs backed a ban on membership of more rightwing groups last month. A proscription order was issued which makes joining Sonnenkrieg Division illegal in the UK. The law also recognises System Resistance Network as an alias of the already banned neo-Nazi group National Action.
Anyone found to be a member of, or offering support to, the banned groups can face up to 10 years in jail.