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Bedfordshire Police obtain first FGM protection order

Travel of two young girls prevented by order

Bedfordshire Police has secured the first ever female genital mutilation (FGM) protection order under changes introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015.
The changes which came in to force today allow authorities to seize the passports of people who they suspect are planning on taking girls abroad for mutilation. Breaching the order is a criminal offence.

Detective Chief Inspector Nick Bellingham from the Public Protection Unit said:

"This legislation is a really positive step forward in the fight against this horrific, cruel crime, and we're pleased to have been able to enforce it today by issuing a protection order. With schools breaking up for the summer holidays today, we will continue to use this legislation where needed to prevent young girls who we believe may be at risk from being taken out of the country. This is child abuse, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that children are kept safe and that those responsible are caught."

The order was made at a court in Bedfordshire, and prevents the travel of two young girls who police believe may have been at risk of being taken to Africa and mutilated.

FGM is a procedure that sees the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is estimated that more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 in the UK are at risk of FGM each year, yet very few cases are reported.

DCI Bellingham added:

"A change in law isn't in itself enough to end this barbaric practice. I'd urge anyone who suspects that a child is at risk of FGM to contact police immediately."

For an article by Nkumbe Ekaney QC and Charlotte Proudman concerning the changes in the law, please click here.