By Alex Millson
A disabled 12-year-old boy and his family were detained by police under the Terrorism Act after his mother was accused of ‘people trafficking’ her mixed-race son.
A female detective constable stopped Julie Maynard and her son Joshua during a day-trip to Calais, demanding to see their passports.
She asked ‘Who’s the boy?’, before telling Ms Maynard: ‘It’s obvious he has nothing to do with you. I believe you are child trafficking.’
Ms Maynard, a legal advocate, said she challenged the Channel Tunnel police officer, asking whether she would have been asked the same question if her son had been white.
She claimed the officer replied ‘Are you accusing me of being a racist?’ before the family car was surrounded by ten officers and they were ordered out.
The family were then detained under the Terrorism Act and Ms Maynard was separated from her husband Leslie Coombs and son, who suffers from autism and cerebral palsy.
She was taken to a detention room and held for questioning for more than two hours, before finally being able to see ‘distressed’ Joshua.
Police told the family members they could be held for up to nine hours, while investigations took place.
Ms Maynard said: ‘More and more people are being stopped under the Terrorism Act. There’s absolutely nothing in the act to stop individual officers abusing their powers.
‘They have a difficult job to do in a difficult climate but their approach needs to be reasonable and not presumptive that every person is somehow guilty of a possible terrorism or criminal offence.’