Two neo-Nazi groups set to be banned in the UK
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Two neo-Nazi groups set to be banned in the UK

Members and anyone found to support the two groups could face up to ten years behind bars

Priti Patel addressing the Conservative conference in Manchester (Credit: YouTube)
Priti Patel addressing the Conservative conference in Manchester (Credit: YouTube)

Two neo-Nazi groups are set to be banned in the UK as terrorist organisations, the home secretary Priti Patel announced on Monday.

The home office said it is to proscribe the Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) – a far-right group which saw two members jailed last year over terror offences. The proscription order will be put to MPs.

An order due to come into force on Tuesday will recognise the far-right System Resistance Network (SRN) as an alias of the proscribed organisation National Action.

Members or anyone found to support either could face up to ten years behind bars, the home office said.

“Recent attacks here and in Germany have highlighted the threat we continue to face from violent extremism,” Patel said in a statement on Monday in an apparent reference to the attack on two shisha bars in the town of Hanau earlier this month.

She added: “We are working to keep the public safe by increasing funding for counter terror police and strengthening the law to keep terrorists locked up for longer.

“By proscribing these groups we are making it much harder for them to spread their hateful rhetoric.”

Two teenage members of the SKD were jailed in June for encouraging terrorism, with Prince Harry and Jewish people among their suggested targets.

Michal Szewczuk was jailed for over four years, while Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski received an 18-month detention and training order.

An undercover BBC Wales Investigates reporter who infiltrated the SRN in 2018 was urged by the group to read Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf.

The ban was welcomed by the Community Security Trust in a statement on Monday.

But a spokesperson for the security organisation said  “it is important that our community appreciates the growing menace posed by the violent far right here in Britain and around the world”.

The Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl thanked the government for “taking this strong and prompt action to proscribe these two hateful terrorist groups.”

“This will make it far harder for them to spread their poisonous views and we will all be safer as a result,” she said.

Fiyaz Mughal, director and founder of Faith Matters, hailed the “excellent news” and “really positive move.”

He said: “Far right groups like these are a threat because they are far more organised and their planning makes them dangerous to social cohesion and to communities.”

The chief executive of the anti-racism charity HOPE not hate Nick Lowles welcomed the move. “The individuals who were members of these groups are some of the most extreme and unrepentant Nazis in the country, despite their young age,” he said.

But he added: “The threat posed by far right terrorism has moved on beyond these two organisations, and the government needs to respond much faster to keep step with this rapidly evolving danger.”

Right-wing extremism is growing rapidly in the UK, the Metropolitan Police warned last year.

Its Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in September that of 22 plots thwarted since March 2017, seven were connected to far-right beliefs.

“It’s rising from a low base, but it’s probably the fastest growing bit of my casebook at the moment,” Basu said at the time.

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