In the 1980s the UK government held an inquiry into polygraphs, which the BPS contributed to, but with the result that polygraphs were denounced as unscientific. However since then the UK has carried out a voluntary two-year trial, in 12 of the 42 UK probation areas involved 120 convicted sex offenders, were tested every six months. The polygraphs were used to measure changes in breathing, heart rate and sweat in response to questioning, and officials believe they can be used to establish, along with other evidence, whether convicted paedophiles are telling the truth about whether they have been trying to contact children. The Home Office is now expanding the pilot scheme to all probation areas.
This book will focus on sexual offenders and the polygraph, but one chapter would be devoted to the other forensic applications of the polygraph, including personality disordered offenders. The book will also include a critical appraisal of the polygraph, which will cover ethical issues and questions about reliability.
- BPS has convened a working party to assess the contribution of the polygraph to forensic work
- Home Office has expanded the research on polygraph testing
- Focus on sexual offenders