Since being pulled over by UK border police in Calais on my return from the Jungle and accused of associating with terrorism just for building shelters for the refugees, I’ve been contacted by over 50 volunteers who upon leaving the jungle themselves back to the UK were bullied, harassed, refused legal representation and questioned/searched at length by UK border police, using these tactics to deter volunteers from the UK going to the jungle. This is nothing less than abuse of power!
I was travelling back to the UK from volunteering for 48hrs in the refugee camp in Calais, when I was stopped at the Calais terminal of the channel tunnel by UK Border Police. I was pulled into a small room and detained under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The officer questioning me refused to give his full name, and was not wearing his shoulder number on his uniform, I was refused legal representation which even under this act you are entitled to.
I identified myself as a former British soldier who was helping a group of volunteers who were building shelters for the refugees as well as stating I was a freelance journalist. But that did not stop the officers treating me as a terrorist and trying to trip me up with repeated questions.
It seems that a number of our Border Police have abused their powers as a police officer and the terrorism act they hide behind. After getting home I made an official complaint which was sent all the way up to Chief Inspector Tony Smith of the Kent Police who seemed genuinely disturbed by my complaint and confirmed what I suspected that police at all times should wear their shoulder number, I should not have been refused a lawyer, I should have had my request for the interview recorded auctioned and I should have been told why I was singled out and detained also.
Since posting my experience on Facebook I’ve been shocked at the response and the numbers of people making very similar claims against the border police standing behind the terrorism act 2000. One female volunteer was told to take off her hijab and when she requested a female officer, she was refused.
Other female volunteers, not Muslim, but white female have been refused female officers when being searched, being quoted by the officers that normal procedures to do with search and questioning do not apply under the Terrorism Act.
I’ve been inundated by over 50 volunteers in less than three days from across the UK. Now I’m no lefty tree huger with a political agenda, I went there to see first hand for myself and to help make just a few people’s lives a little better. So I don’t write this with any political agenda, I write this as someone who sees abuse of power on a large scale by people who are supposed to be there to serve the public, not to abuse the public.
Speaking to Chief Inspector Tony Smith, I expressed my feeling that this abuse of power is only going to hurt this country, breed racism and increase the chance of inbred homegrown terrorism. This abuse is just going to spread further distrust amongst the public and add more problems this country could do without.
Writing this I look forward in anticipation of Inspector Smith coming back to me with his findings.
Reported by Mike Buss – 23rd January 2016