POLICE have held a week-long operation to raise awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The operation, which was backed by the UK Border Force and Manchester Airport, saw officers speak to 17 families and gave out information about FGM.

Det Chief Supt Vanessa Jardine said: “We wanted this week of action to raise awareness within communities that are affected.

"FGM is a crime and Greater Manchester Police, along with our partners, operates a zero tolerance approach to it.

“We hope by engaging with passengers travelling to countries where FGM is practised that we can raise awareness about both the health and legal implications of the act.

“We know there is no religious basis to this process and want children who are being taken to these countries to understand that support is available should they want to speak up at any time.”

FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia or injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.

It is prevalent in countries in mid and northern Africa and parts of Asia.

Anyone with concerns about FGM, which is illegal in the UK, is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.