Woman (42) arrested for conspiracy to commit FGM at Heathrow Airport
A 42-year-old woman has been arrested for conspiracy to commit Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at Heathrow Airport, Scotland Yard said.
Officers arrested the woman, a British national born in Zimbabwe, at around 12:15pm just before she was about to get on a flight to Ghana via Amsterdam.
She was taken to a west London police station and subsequently transferred to Northamptonshire Police who will investigate the case.
The woman was arrested by police as they carried out an awareness operation to coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM.
An eight-year-old girl travelling with the woman was taken into the care of social services.
Metropolitan Police and UK Border Force officers carried out an operation at the country's largest airport to raise awareness of FGM, also known as female circumcision.
The procedure, which is illegal, 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 have been 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 will also be spoken to by officers at the airport, who will be handing out copies of the Home Office "health passport".
Detective Chief Inspector Jane Scotchbrook, from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "Today's activity is one aspect of our continued efforts to raise awareness of this form of child abuse, its associated immediate and long-term health risks, and the absence of any religious teaching that supports its undertaking.
"Our focus is on targeting those communities where offences of FGM are prevalent, by engaging with passengers travelling to and from countries where the offence is practised.
"We hope to educate and prevent anyone who may engage in FGM, as well as highlighting the support available to those who may be at risk."