The co-founder of proscribed organisation National Action has today (17 May) been convicted of being a member of the banned extreme right-wing neo-Nazi group.
A jury at Winchester Crown Court heard 27-year-old Alex Davies, from Swansea, set up the group with Ben Raymond in 2013. They aimed to create a National Socialist, or neo-Nazi, youth movement in the UK, describing themselves as a “white jihadist group”.
They modelled themselves on Nazi SS stormtroopers and toured the country joining flash demonstrations, which often turned violent.
In York in May 2016 Davies was seen shouting into a megaphone in front of a banner containing the words “Refugees not welcome: Hitler was right.”
By December of the same year National Action became the first far-right organisation to be banned by the government since the Second World War, but its members continued to meet in secret using encrypted messaging platforms to communicate.
What is National Action?
• Formed by co-founders Alex Davies and Ben Raymond in 2013. Davies was known as a recruiter and Raymond known as the group’s head of propaganda and its public face.
• The group spread its propaganda through stickering, leafleting and joining flash demonstrations, mostly notably in 2016 in Liverpool, Swansea, York and Darlington.
• National Action had a regional structure encompassing London, the South West, the Midlands, the North East and the North West. There was also a region in Scotland.
• The group would also use Nazi-themed stickers as visual weapons put up in town centres and, more particularly, university campuses – a demographic the group was seeking to recruit.
• The weaponry stockpiled included: knives, daggers, machetes, high velocity crossbows, rifles, pump-action shotguns, knuckle dusters, disabling spray, baseball bats, even a longbow. Weaponry stockpiled by Mikko Vehvilainen, a serving soldier, jailed for eight years in April 2018, was the most extensive and included ceremonial Nazi daggers. Members also had a deep interest in explosives and bomb making.
• In November 2016 it was reported that the group was supporting MP Jo Cox killer Thomas Mair.
• National Action was banned by the government in December 2016 by then Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who described the group as ‘a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology’.
• Other groups suspected of being off-shoots of National Action and involving defendants investigated by CTP WM CTU, were NS131 (subsequently banned) and TripleK Mafia.
Davies, a previous BNP Youth member, was known as a recruiter for the group and personally vetted people to establish how useful they could be. He was extremely careful around security and travelled hundreds of miles, preferring to meet in person rather than risk written communication.
He went on to set up a splinter group – NS 131 – in the spring of 2017. This too was banned just a few months later.
Following a lengthy investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing officers in the West Midlands (CTP WM CTU), Davies has become the 19th person to be convicted of membership of the banned far-right organisation National Action, following the conviction of fellow co-founder Raymond last November. Davies will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 7 June.
Detective Superintendent Anthony Tagg, from CTP WM CTU, said: “Our officers have worked tirelessly to secure convictions of men who posed a significant threat to communities across the country.
“They were not merely armchair terrorists, they actively planned a race war. They recruited from positions of trust – the military and the police.
“They stockpiled weapons, and researched explosives and bomb-making. They trained their members in boxing, martial arts and knife fighting.
“Extremists use this kind of ideology to create discord, distrust and fear among our communities and we strive to counter this. I would encourage people to report hate crime to us and it will be taken seriously.
“As a result of these investigations, we have seen a significant increase of right-wing referrals to our Prevent programme.”
Detective Superintendent Gareth Rees is the Extreme Right Wing Terrorism lead for the national Counter Terrorism Policing network, he said:
“The conviction of Alex Davies demonstrates policing’s commitment to pursue those who seek to spread fear and spark dissent in our communities.
“Since the proscription of National Action in 2016, officers across the country have worked tirelessly to identify individuals who continue to engage with, and further, the toxic and dangerous ideology of this terrorist group.
“The work of the Counter Terrorism Policing network has led to a significant number of convictions for membership of National Action, and I hope that the sentences served by the courts are a warning to those who may be tempted into such activity in the future.
“Today’s conviction is a significant moment in our efforts to dismantle National Action and ensure its founders, members, and those who support this proscribed group are brought to justice, however it does not signal the end of our work.
“Our proactive efforts to confront the threat posed by Extreme Right Wing Terrorism continue.”
Every year thousands of reports from the public help police tackle the terrorist threat. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting to police in confidence here.
Reporting won’t ruin lives, but it could save them. Action Counters Terrorism. Remember, in an emergency, always dial 999.