Woman held in FGM investigation


A 42-year-old woman remains in police custody after being arrested for conspiracy to commit Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) while with an eight-year-old girl at Heathrow Airport.

The woman, a British national born in Zimbabwe, was held at around 12:15pm yesterday as she was about to get on a flight to Ghana via Amsterdam, Scotland Yard said.

She was taken to a west London police station and subsequently transferred to Northamptonshire Police who will investigate the case.

The girl was taken into the care of social services.

The arrest came as police carried out an awareness operation to coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM.

The Metropolitan Police and UK Border Force officers carried the operation to raise awareness of the brutal illegal process, also known as female circumcision. It involves the removal or injuring of a woman’s genitals for non-medical reasons.

It is highly dangerous and can lead to infection, problems during childbirth and be fatal.

Officers were stationed at the west London airport to carry out preventative and detection work in relation to inbound and outbound flights to “countries of prevalence” for FGM.

Officers from Project Azure, the Met Police response to tackling FGM, and other specialist officers distributed health passports, checked luggage and spoke to passengers from countries affected by the crime.

They spoke to passengers on a flight from Kenya earlier this morning. No offences were identified but individuals were given guidance about the risks involved with FGM.

Passengers travelling to destinations including Ghana, Doha and Abu Dhabi were also spoken to by officers at the airport, who handed out copies of the Home Office “health passport”.