POLICE and the Crown Prosecution Service need more resources to properly identify and tackle female genital mutilation, Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds has said.

New figures have shown there were 5,000 new cases of the practice, also known as FGM, in the UK last year, and more than 200 million women across the world have been subject to it.

It is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts.

Addressing solicitor general Robert Buckland in Parliament this week, Labour MP and former barrister Mr Thomas-Symonds said: "If we are to increase prosecution rates right across the range of offences, we need a properly resourced and robust disclosure system.

"The former Conservative politician and barrister Jerry Hayes has said: 'The CPS are under terrible pressure, as are the police. Both work hard but are badly under-resourced.'

"He is right, is he not?"

Mr Buckland responded: "I am well familiar with the long-standing challenge of disclosure.

"Prior to recent revelations, I am glad to say that the attorney general and I instituted a thoroughgoing review not only of our guidelines, but of the entire culture.

"The police and prosecutors, everybody involved at all stages, have to realise that disclosure must be achieved early and efficiently to protect not just defendants, but victims.

Mr Thomas-Symonds replied: "I appreciate that there is a review, and I appreciate that there are long-standing issues, but there is also no doubt that social media - things like WhatsApp - and the examination of mobile telephones present new challenges that are time intensive and resource intensive.

"Surely it is the case that, without proper resources on those things, we will not have the system of disclosure that we need."

Mr Buckland replied one of the main issues police and prosecutors faced was cases being reported long after FGM had been carried out.

Concerns someone may be at risk of FGM can be reported to the NSPCC on 0800 028 3550 or via fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk. Support is also available from GPs or healthcare workers.

In an emergency call 999.