Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has opened its doors to documentary makers to uncover the world of forced marriage and expose this hidden crime.
After being granted all-access to teams working in this area, Forced Marriage Cops is a documentary which has been produced by True Vision for Channel 4.
Due to air on 30 September at 10pm, it follows Greater Manchester Police over an 18 month period from March 2014 to August 2015. It comes following legislation introduced in June 2014 which made it illegal in the UK to force someone to marry against their will.
Forced marriage is a difficult area to police and is an incredibly sensitive issue. It is a criminal offence and carries a seven year prison sentence.
Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine, head of Greater Manchester Police’s Public Protection Division, said: “I am delighted that True Vision and Channel 4 decided to follow the work of our teams – it’s a truly ground-breaking look at the work we do to tackle this crime, which is often concealed by families behind closed doors. Each day we work with our partners and local community to detect and protect victims and tackle what is an incredibly sensitive subject.
“It is important that those watching see just how seriously we take the issue of forced marriage. This is an incredibly important issue which puts people in a difficult situation because while victims will not want to get married, they also won’t want to get their own families in trouble.
“There are thousands of women affected throughout the country and we want this production to show them that help available and they will be taken seriously.
“Being forced into marriage to uphold family honour is not acceptable and everyone should have the right to choose who they want to spend their lives with.
“Through this program we hope victims or their friends and family members will have the confidence to report this hidden crime and dishonour those practising it.”
Across GMP there have been 239 incidents of honour based abuse and forced marriage. The majority of these incidents have been reported by women aged between 15 and 24. The number of male victims remains unknown.
Meet Ruhksana, a 26-year old woman fleeing from her father after he attacked her for seeing her boyfriend. Ruhksana has been seeking police protection.
Meet Sajida – she was forced to marry 16-years ago and is now paying the price with her four daughters in Manchester.
Meet the cops who deal with these crimes every day – Detective Inspector Tanya Kitchen and her team have the unenviable task of painstakingly trying to find any evidence that will show that the victim is telling the truth. They follow the biggest case of Forced Marriage that GMP has ever seen – with a family of 15 children at risk.
Forced Marriage Cops has been produced by True Vision. The Director is Anna Hall and the Executive Producer is Brian Woods. It will be aired as a current affairs documentary on Channel 4. The Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 is Daniel Pearl.