London's deputy mayor for policing today warned that people who inflict female genital mutilation on girls had escaped justice "for too long", as she stepped up pressure for new prosecutions over the "abhorrent" crime.

Sophie Linden said that a "lack of understanding among frontline professionals and inconsistencies in the way these crimes are recorded" had allowed perpetrators to avoid charges, despite genital mutilation being a "widespread" problem.

She said the situation "has to change" and vowed that City Hall would work to spread the message that FGM was illegal and unacceptable.

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