MoJ statistics released this year reveal that 160 convicted sex offenders have been returned to jail after taking polygraph tests. Lie detector tests for paedophiles and other sex offenders released on probation have been in common use in the UK since 2014.
However, they are only used in some UK police forces and not all.
Invaluable investigative tool
A forensic psychiatrist and professor, at Newcastle University consider that use of polygraph examinations should be widespread. Professor Grubin believes they are an invaluable investigatory tool in the protection of victims from such crimes.
The professor assisted in the training of UK probation and police officers when lie detector tests for paedophiles were trialled by the MoJ.
In addition he believes that they should be utilised in the investigation of other crimes, citing Britain’s failure to use lie detector tests as “misguided and irrational”. He feels that reluctance to fully embrace the technology puts minors at risk.
Reality TV shows shape public perception
The image of the polygraph on reality TV shows such as Jeremy Kyle has not been enhanced, according to the professor.
The general public associate the polygraph with such shows that mainly deal with scandalous infidelity. Whilst these shows may be entertaining to some, the polygraph is more often used away from the public eye. The technology forms part of investigations into serious crime and is privately used in matrimonial matters among many other situations.
Commonly called a lie detector, the polygraph doesn’t identify lies. The equipment records a number of physiological responses which are then analysed by highly skilled polygraph examiners. Changes in respiration, heart beat and blood pressure can indicate deception. The examiner is able to determine whether those changes are the result of normal stress or something else.
Lie detector tests for paedophiles work well
Sex offenders released on probation are subject to strict conditions. One example of those who have been returned to jail shows how lie detector tests for paedophiles work well. One of the conditions for the paedophile’s release was that he did not access the internet. Following the test, the police decided to search his home. They discovered that not only had he accessed the internet but had also downloaded paedophiliac images.
Whilst Professor Grubin is not advocating the use of polygraph results in court, he does believe that they provide a method of eliminating suspects. They also often expose other lines of enquiry, overall saving both money and time.
As providers of polygraph services, we believe anything that keeps children and the wider public safe has to be a good thing. If this takes the form of lie detector tests for paedophiles or any other form of offender, we have everything to gain by using them. And absolutely nothing to lose! Let us know what you think.