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18.11.19

Border Force and Metropolitan Police operation highly commended at ‘World Class Policing Awards’

Operation Limelight focuses on raising awareness of forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) at the border and safeguarding potential victims.

This summer, Operation Limelight focused solely on flights between the UK and destinations where there is a high prevalence of forced marriage. The operation involved working alongside airport staff and the general public on how to spot possible signs of abuse and how to report their concerns. Intelligence was also used to recognise victims entering or leaving the country.

As part of the operation, the UK worked closely with counterparts in the United States to run corresponding operations at US airports.

The judging panel said that Operation Limelight was a “major safeguarding operation that has warned, and possibly deterred, many thousands of suspects and victims and how now been replicated across multiple US cities.”

The joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Protection Orders and 418 FGM Protection Orders have been made since their introduction (2008 and 2015 respectively) and in February the first person was convicted of FGM in the UK.

Following operations in the UK, the USA adopted Limelight as an intervention tactic, delivered in 14 US cities in 2019. This led to the development of the Proclamation of Interagency Support for Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting Investigations Between UK and US Law Enforcement, signed at the US Embassy on 30th August 2018, a far-reaching agreement for US and UK law enforcement to share intelligence to enhance our knowledge of, and response to FGM.

Tim Kingsberry, Regional Director at Border Force said: “We are naturally delighted with this award which recognises the progress that we have made through joint working between Border Force and the Metropolitan Police.

“FGM and forced marriage are abhorrent crimes which we are committed to tackling both here in the UK and also through our ongoing work with overseas partners.”

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