Cutters are using new techniques to inflict female genital mutilation on girls living in Britain in an attempt to avoid detection, MPs have been warned.
The Royal College of Midwives said that the “communities” who carried out FGM had begun to “vary the practice” to stay “one step ahead” of those seeking to stop the crime.
It cited one recent case in which mutilation of a type “never seen before” had been inflicted, and added that the new tactics were creating “difficulties” for medical staff as they battled to eradicate the barbaric practice.
The warning came during a hearing of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which also heard claims that adult British women are being forced to undergo mutilation after marrying men from communities that practise FGM.
There was a separate warning from the Met — which disclosed it is currently conducting 18 “live” investigations into suspected mutilation — about a continuing lack of cases being referred to police by NHS staff and teachers.
But the most disturbing evidence came as the Royal College of Midwives’ FGM adviser Janet Fyle told MPs that new methods are being used to inflict mutilation.
“As we get more vigilant the communities who practise FGM vary how and what they do and when,” she said.
“There are standard types of FGM, but recently somebody has come across something that we have never seen before and they do it in a different way.
“They are always one step ahead of those who are trying to stop them.”
Ms Fyle said she was also concerned that cases involving adult British victims who married men from cultures that believed in FGM were being overlooked.
She said: “Another issue for me is that we are just focusing on under-18s.
“When you open this can of worms you will find that you have British born children, European children, who might marry into that community and at 18 plus they might be pressured into having FGM.”
In earlier evidence, Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Niven, who leads Scotland Yard’s efforts to combat mutilation, said police were liaising with prosecutors over four cases and that another 18 “live investigations” were underway.
He admitted, however, that the overall number of probes remained “very small” and that law enforcers were “certainly not going to prosecute our way to eradicating FGM” in time to meet the government’s target of eliminating the practice in Britain within a decade.
Mr Niven blamed a low level of referrals from the NHS and schools for the lack of action so far.
He added that only a handful of the 83 suspected cases passed to police during the past nine months turned out to involve suspected FGM.