The Police in the U.K. now regularly use the Polygraph as part of their overall approach to investigating offences, especially when those offences are of a sexual nature.
On the 24th January this year the Metro newspaper reported on a particularly interesting case where an offender, David Nicholson from Blyth appeared before Newcastle Crown Court where he was sentenced for serious sexual offences, that were only disclosed as a result of the polygraph examination.
A number of Police forces in the U.K. have adopted the use of the polygraph when offenders are in custody. Although there are currently no powers to make a suspect sit a polygraph examination, Police interviewers now have the facility to request a suspect to sit a test and with their consent, they are asked about their admissions and or if there are any offences that they have not disclosed to the investigators.
Nicholson’s offending originally came to light as a result of him contacting a 13 year old girl on line. During their on line contact, the girl, who Nicholson was clearly attempting to groom, agreed to meet with him in Sunderland and Nicholson travelled over 20 miles from his home town of Blyth to meet her.
When Nicholson arrived at the agreed meeting point, he was surprised to be met by a group known as “Dark Justice”. Who are a group of like-minded people who have banded together as “paedophile hunters”. Nicholson was detained at the scene and later arrested. Once in custody Nicholson was asked to take a polygraph examination and agreed to do so. During the test he disclosed a history of serious sexual offending, which included attacking an 11 year old female child. That child, now an adult, was identified by name by Nicholson and she was later traced by the police. She bravely cooperated with the police investigation and her Victim Impact Statement was read out in court when Nicholson appeared before His Honour Judge Stephen Earl, who
commended her for finding the “inner strength” to speak out.
Nicholson was convicted having entered “guilty pleas” to the charges of Rape and six counts of indecent assault and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 9 years and four months. Nicholson will also be subject to supervision when he is eventually released from prison and it will be at this time that he resurrects his relationship with the polygraph. As part of any early release process any convicted sex offender may be required to take regular polygraph examinations when they are released early back into the community.
These examinations have been used by the National Offender Management Service (NOM’s) formerly the Probation Service, to monitor the re-offending behaviour of sex offenders on early release and have proved to be an essential element in safeguarding the community, where previously they had to rely upon judgements made during
face-to face interviews or outdated and unreliable tagging technology.
Since the implementation of the NOM’s polygraph testing, referred to as Post Conviction Sex Offender Testing (PCSOT) over 50 offenders have been returned to prison. And following on from that success, polygraph testing is now to be introduced to monitor offenders convicted of Domestic Violence and as an aid to assessing convicted terrorists who apply for early parole.