Lie tests for sexual offenders in South Yorkshire

editorial image
Have your say

Lie detector tests are to be introduced by South Yorkshire Police to check if known sex offenders are keeping to their bail conditions.

Two officers from the force are being sent to Texas in the USA to receive training to use the polygraph tests, and will work full time on the project.

The initiative is being funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright who said it would help protect vulnerable people and reduce the risks posed by offenders.

Tests will be offered on a voluntary basis as part of suspects’ probation or bail conditions.

The results will not be used to prosecute suspects but will help the police to address the likelihood of sex offenders and those caught in possession of indecent images of children reoffending or breaching their bail.

The House of Commons recently passed laws allowing polygraph testing to be used in the UK.

Training for two officers will cost the taxpayer £35,000.

It includes 10 weeks of basic polygraph training in Texas, followed by a 40 hour post-conviction sex offender testing course and a 40-hour quality assurance programme.

Commissioner Wright said: “I made plain in my Police and Crime Plan that protecting the most vulnerable people is society was one of my key priorities and this important initiative is further illustration of how I am trying to achieve that aim.

“The programme will reduce investigation costs and help us protect more vulnerable people as we come to understand the risks associated with some of this criminal behaviour.

“This is an excellent opportunity for officers to be proactive in their management of suspects on police bail and contribute to protecting and safeguarding more children at risk of sexual abuse.”

In trials run by Hertfordshire Police, three quarters of offenders were deemed to be at higher risk of reoffending than first classified following polygraph testing.