Specialist officers at Stansted Airport to highlight issue of female genital mutilation (FGM)

Crime / Mon 31st Jul 2023 at 02:21pm

SPECIALIST officers working tirelessly to protect children in Essex engaged with airport passengers to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). 

Officers with our Crime and Public Protection Command and Operational Policing Command were at Stansted Airport on Friday 21 July as part of Operation Limelight. 

The operation is a national approach to engage with passengers and raise awareness of the practice of FGM.

Officers talk to members of the public awaiting outbound flights to areas of the world where the practice is known to occur. 

They discuss the issues surrounding the causes and impact of this cruel and dehumanising crime.

By engaging with the passengers and raising awareness, the hope is Limelight will help prevent future acts of FGM taking place. 

Advice and support are also on hand for any victims who make a disclosure.

Detective Inspector Fred Tomkins, of our Public Protection Investigations Hub, said: “Members of the public responded positively as we discussed the steps being taken to prevent future victims as well as support the survivors of this terrible offence. 

“Officers highlighted the support and intervention available to any person who is or could be at risk.

“I would urge anyone who knows of someone at risk of FGM please call police on 101. 
“Alternatively you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to:

• Perform FGM in the UK.
• Help or arrange for anyone to carry out FGM abroad on girls who are British Nationals or UK residents.
• Help a girl to carry out FGM on herself.
• Fail to protect a girl under 16 who is known to be at risk of FGM.
FGM carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.

There are a number of signs a girl could have been a victim of FGM:

• Changes in behaviour.
• Missing school, particularly after a trip to a country where FGM is common.
• Spending long periods of time out of the classroom.
• Spending longer than usual going to the toilet.
• Avoiding going to the toilet.
• Discomfort when sitting down.
• Avoiding physical exercise.
• Frequent menstrual or urinary infections.

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2 Comments for Specialist officers at Stansted Airport to highlight issue of female genital mutilation (FGM):

2023-07-31 16:11:16

"Hello there! Off on your holidays?" "Yes officer, off for a week in Spain." "Oh, sounds lovely! Just before you go, let me talk to you about FGM..."

Brid Hehir
2023-08-01 15:25:53

Operations like Limelight, target innocent people from ‘countries of prevalence’ who are simply taking advantage of long school holidays to take children to see relatives overseas. Although UK officials consider Operation Limelight ‘a commendable enterprise’, they admit ‘its overall impact is limited, both in enforcement and education’.

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