FGM fears as Birmingham police raid unregistered school with bed and medical gear

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Tuesday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. It came after Ofsted inspectors found a locked room with a bed and medical equipment at the school, which has not been named.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed that the force was called in at 11.39 on Tuesday by Ofsted inspectors who were investigating reports of an unregistered school.

She said: “There were concerns about any illegal practices that may have taken place on the premises.

“As part of our investigations, two men, aged 32 and 61, have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in female genital mutilation and have since been released on bail with strict conditions.”

She added that a third man was also arrested on Wednesday as part of the force’s investigation. He has also been released on bail with strict conditions.

The spokeswoman said: “We understand the concerns this will cause in the community but it is important to emphasize that we are still working to determine if any crimes have occurred. Our investigation together with partner agencies continues.”

An unregistered school meets the legal definition of an independent or private school, but is not registered with the Department for Education (DfE).

It is illegal to run an independent school if it is not registered with DfE, which is the supervisory body for that type of school.

Anyone who runs an unregistered school is guilty of a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment, unlimited fines or both.

Ofsted reported in November that since the establishment of its Unregistered Schools Task Force in 2016, its inspectors have examined more than 800 institutions and issued more than 100 warning messages to owners and managers who run them.

Genital mutilation is when a woman’s genitals are intentionally altered or removed for non-medical reasons, according to the NSPCC. It is also known as “female circumcision” or “cutting”.

It is recognized as a form of child abuse and is illegal in the UK. It can cause serious injury, including constant pain, infections and infertility.

A 2015 study using the 2011 census data on female genital mutilation in the UK found that around 103,000 women aged 15-49 and around 24,000 women aged 50 and over who had migrated to England and Wales were living with the consequences of female genital mutilation.

It also found that around 10,000 girls under the age of 15 who had migrated to England and Wales were likely to have undergone the procedure.

The study found that London has the highest prevalence in England and Wales with an estimated 2.1 percent of women affected by female genital mutilation.

Beyond London were the highest estimates identified in the study for Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 200 million girls and women worldwide have been affected by female genital mutilation.

Three million people risk genital mutilation every year, it says.

Female genital mutilation is common in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and is performed mostly on girls under 16 years of age.

If you are concerned that a child is at risk for or have already had genital mutilation, call the NSPCC’s free, anonymous helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email fgm.help@nspcc.org.uk

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