Police officer spent 20 years undercover pretending to be a paedophile
His longest case lasted more than a year
A former police officer has revealed how he spent two decades working undercover as a paedophile where he saved children and brought offenders to justice.
Ian James has a particularly unique perspective on paedophiles considering he posed as one for two decades. While travelling abroad, he studied their behaviour and worked to gain the trust of sex offenders, all while raising his own family and writing his book, Save One Child.
Appearing on the Anything Goes With James English podcast, James explained how he went from being a police cadet at 18 to taking down criminals across the globe.
During his years in the police force, James worked in London and then moved up north to work in Cleveland.
Speaking on the podcast, James explained why it was so hard entering paedophile circles.
"They're very cautious, they're very suspicious, they're very suspicious because they don't necessarily think you're a police officer, they're more likely to think you're a journalist and they're going to be named and shamed," he explained.
"Sometimes what you've got to do is manipulate them to be accepted, and it's so difficult because you'll only have a small window of opportunity to do it.
"Then, if you don't, if you're not successful, then theoretically, you're finished. Because you can't go back in your domain."
Part of James' job was looking at images of that children he of course didn't want to see - but had to in order for his marks to trust him.
He said: "If I can't deal with that image, a predator would identify me and I might put a child at risk."
A single job could last months, with one taking an entire year to complete. In this instance, he was dealing with someone regarded as "very high risk, very dangerous" and he goes as far as to say the predator was "regarded as one of the worst ones about at that time."
On one occasion, James event went to prison to catch an already incarcerated offender, putting himself in the firing line.
"The problem there is, they don't like predators, and I'm supposed to be a sympathiser, or I could be one," he explained.
"And, I'm actually meeting someone who is convicted, so you can imagine the potential hostility."
However as you can imagine, it was a lot harder to move on from this work.
"You save one child, and you think 'do you know what? I can do this because I've just done it'.
"The satisfaction that I had became a bit of an obsession because if you save one child, then you want to save another one, then another one.
"Dare I say it - we were probably far more successful in saving children than we were at getting convictions."
Now, decades after he began his conquest against the world's most prolific sex offenders, James wants to bring attention to the cause.
He continued: "It's still relevant now even though we've moved into this online world.
"There are predators out there, so it's not just online. [But] you've got to be careful online.
"There's more likelihood of children being abused now than ever before because it's so easy."
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