GLA ‘incorrect’ to claim officers are failing FGM victims

Allegations that officers are failing to record thousands of female genital mutilation (FGM) cases are untrue, according to Britain’s largest force.

Feb 7, 2018

Allegations that officers are failing to record thousands of female genital mutilation (FGM) cases are untrue, according to Britain’s largest force. London Assembly member Susan Hall accused the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) of letting victims down after data revealed just eight per cent of FGM cases logged by health professionals are recorded by police. Ms Hall described the force’s response as “simply not good enough” and urged it to work more closely with the NHS to ensure all reports are dealt with seriously. However, the MPS pointed out that most of the NHS records are for victims who were cut before arriving in the UK – meaning health staff are not required to share this data. Inspector Allen Davis said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to tackling FGM and works very closely with the NHS and a wide range of partners to tackle this complex, harmful practice. FGM is child abuse and it is illegal. “It is incorrect to compare the datasets in the manner shown. The NHS data referred to is anonymised data (NHS Enhanced Dataset) that gives an indication of the numbers of women affected by FGM. “The vast majority of those referred to in this dataset are adult women who were subject to FGM prior to arrival in the UK – there would be no requirement on any health professional to share this information with police.” Just 199 reports of FGM were recorded by the MPS in the 12 months to March 2017 while health professionals identified 2,560 victims. No charges were brought against any suspect over the same period and just one person has been charged by the MPS since April 2014. The NHS figures for London represent almost half of all instances of FGM in England in 2016/17. Ninety-five of the victims were under 18 and 245 were aged between 18 and 25. However, 870 women told heath staff the procedure took place when they were less than 18 years old. FGM was made illegal in the UK in 1985 but not a single person has ever been convicted of the offence. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has pledged to “end the practice of FGM” by 2030. Ms Hall said: “The disparity between the number of cases recorded by NHS professionals and those logged by the police is frankly shocking. The young women subjected to this barbaric practice are being let down. “The police must work more closely with the NHS to ensure all reports are criminally investigated. The law requires medical practitioners to put aside patient confidentiality relating to cases of FGM so that is not the issue here – it is a lack of co-ordination.”

Related News

Copyright © 2021 Police Professional