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Channel 4 announces ‘unprecedented undercover series’

Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent
·2-min read

Channel 4 will follow undercover detectives in a new series on how police catch paedophiles.

The three-part documentary has been filmed “with great care and sensitivity” over the last two years, the broadcaster said.

Viewers will see the work of undercover police as they search for paedophiles operating online.

They pose as adults and children in forums and chat rooms to identify criminals.

Channel 4 documentaries senior commissioning editor Alisa Pomeroy said: “This powerful series is both timely and vitally important.

“As a direct result of Covid, millions of children are now stuck at home, bored, hidden away in their bedrooms and chatting online.

“Each potentially laying themselves open to the sinister practice of online grooming by an increasing number of would-be sexual abusers.”

Police rolled out a new strategy in 2017, across England and Wales, to catch paedophiles online using undercover police officers.

Programme-makers said the police teams featured in the programme have led the way in developing the tactic.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has previously said that paedophiles are looking to exploit the coronavirus lockdown.

And police have warned of a spike in abuse with schools closed and young people spending more time on the internet.

The documentary’s executive producer Joe Mather said: “This is a hard-hitting trio of documentaries filmed with great care and sensitivity over two years.

“It’s been extraordinary to have been granted access to such a complex area of policing and to witness the work of undercover detectives as they go about searching for paedophiles operating online.

“What the child sexual abuse officers are witness to on a daily basis is truly horrific.

“Yet these detectives, often with children of their own, have to engage with the offenders in order to find and arrest them, knowing that for every one they arrest there are countless more victims still at risk.”

Undercover Police: Hunting Paedophiles will air next month on Channel 4.