Police action has saved a number of women and girls in London from the crime of female genital mutilation, a senior detective said today.

The Met says that out of 69 cases of suspected FGM which were referred to the force last year, they took action in 57 cases. In a number of these cases police believe that their intervention prevented girls from being cut.

Detective Superintendent Jason Ashwood, the head of the Met's FGM team, said his officers were using covert tactics because it was "very hard to investigate FGM when the victim is a very young child and the suspect is a family member".

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