West Yorkshire crime tsar's FGM vow

Mark Burns-Williamson
Mark Burns-Williamson

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has reaffirmed his commitment to tackling Female Genital Mutilation as changes in legislation come into effect.

The change to the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act 2003 puts a duty on regulated health and social care professionals and teachers to report "known" cases of FGM on women below the age of 18 to the police.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson teamed up with organisations across the county this summer to discuss work to prevent FGM and how best to support victims.

Community groups and charities have also received funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund to tackle FGM and support victims at a local level.

The fund provides grants to voluntary, community groups, charities and partners and is funded by money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed last year that more than 2,600 women and girls could be affected by female genital mutilation in Leeds.

The authors of the report, which was launched at a conference in the city last year, said they were “shocked” at the scale of the problem.

Mark Burns-Williamson said "FGM is an appalling crime and one that is thought to be very much under reported nationwide.

"This new addition to the legislation will hopefully increase reporting and raise awareness of the issue which is an important aspect in helping to prevent it and to understand the true scale and nature of it.

“I will continue to do all I can, working in conjunction with partners, to stop FGM and support victims."