A three-year-old girl was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after a botched female genital mutilation procedure in Sadiq Khan’s London.
A 42-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman, both understood to be of African background, are due in court to be charged with FGM offences after the incident was investigated by the Metropolitan Police Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command, according to the London Evening Standard.
The Africans are accused of having “excised, infibulated or otherwise mutilated the whole or a part of a girl’s labia minora and clitoris”, as well as offences related to “extreme pornography” — namely images of child abuse and bestiality.
Female genital mutilation has been a crime since 1985 in the United Kingdom, but in over three decades the authorities have yet to secure a single conviction and mounted only a tiny number of unsuccessful prosecutions, despite the National Health Service (NHS) logging thousands upon thousands of victims.
It has often been suggested that this is because it is difficult to secure convictions without the testimony of the victims, who are often reluctant to speak against the perpetrators — usually African-background parents — but this is contradicted by the record of the French authorities, who face a similar phenomenon but have mounted hundreds of successful prosecutions.
Many critics have suggested that the British state’s “scandalous” record on FGM should be attributed to the politically correct sensibilities of senior police officers, who have often been reluctant to take on criminals from minority communities — most famously in the case of Muslim child grooming rapists — ever since Lord Scarman levelled the dubious accusation of “institutional racism” at the police in 1981.
Indeed, the West Midlands Police force caused uproar when it told a member of the public demanding to know why no FGM convictions had been secured that “Prosecuting/jailing” the parents of FGM victims was “unlikely to benefit [the] child” in early 2017.
The force quickly recanted in response to the backlash, but accusations that an informal policy of not pursuing charges against parents organising female genital mutilation procedures was in place increased after Ivan Balhatchet, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on ‘honour’ violence, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage, wrote a semi-literate letter to a former police officer claiming the crime was nuanced.
“There are many nuances to this crime type, which even third-sector charitable organisations, do not claim to share a nexus with your rationale of concerns for the lack of successful prosecutions [sic],” he claimed.