Police today launched an appeal for information about people carrying out female genital mutilation as they revealed detectives have begun undercover operations against suspected "cutters" in London.
The surveillance is part of a new "intelligence-led" approach, in which officers have been ordered to seek out evidence without waiting for girls to come forward to report offences.
The aim is to overcome the reluctance of victims to testify against family members by allowing officers to bring charges without girls subjected to mutilation having to testify in court. Two people believed to be carrying out genital mutilation, which has been illegal in Britain since 1985, were put under surveillance after tip-offs. Although officers later concluded that the suspects were innocent, Scotland Yard chiefs said they were preparing to launch more covert operations as soon as they received new information about potential perpetrators.