Norfolk Police issues forced marriage warning

Police news
Police news

As schools across West Norfolk break up for the summer holidays, police have called for greater vigilance against forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Senior officers say this period is when the risk is at its highest and have urged health, education and social services officers to be on their guard.

Norfolk Police has led a training programme for agencies to combat the problem.

And Detective Superintendent Julie Wvendth of the force’s Safeguarding and Investigations Command, said: “It is crucial that we work together to identify the signs of forced marriage and FGM to help break the cycle of abuse.”

Det Supt Wvendth, who set up a partnership to tackle the issues, said 78 cases of suspected honour-based abuse, plus 19 of forced marriage, have been reported to the force since 2010.

She added: “The group will allow us to more effectively address these issues within the county. This is an under reported area of crime and we want to encourage victims to come forward and speak to us.

“As a force we will always take positive action against such abuse which includes supporting victims, ensuring a full risk assessment is carried out, conducting a vigorous investigation and charging and convicting the perpetrators.”

Lorne Green, the county’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Like many things that surround family and relationships much goes on behind closed doors, I believe to make a difference in tackling forced marriage we all have to take responsibility and take action when we have concerns or suspicions, to wait is too late.”

Concerns can also be raised via the Freedom Charity, which set up the first dedicated phone and text lines to deal with cases, by phoning 0845 6070133, texting text 4freedom to 88802 or visiting www.freedomcharity.org.uk