I am often asked how I became involved in the Polygraph profession. So, I thought this article would be a good way of explaining my journey and at the same time, give you the reader, the confidence of knowing who exactly drives the ethos of our business.
I have been involved in identifying people who lie, cheat and deceive all of my working life. Firstly, as a police officer, when after 25 years of service, I retired as a Detective. My career had been varied and included investigations of organised regional and international crime. Following my retirement I trained as a Criminal Defence Advocate and later formed the largest Legal Agency in the Midlands and I opened a Solicitors Office in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.
It was shortly after this that the first elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner were held nationally. I stood as an Independent candidate in that election and it was during one of our many hustings meetings that all of the candidates were challenged to explain exactly how our appointment would increase the detection of crime and in particular the woefully poor conviction rate of rapists and sex offenders. Each candidate gave their reply, offering platitudes and sympathy for the victims but as I sat on the platform, I knew that the truth was, we would have little or no effect. I left that meeting feeling we had all let down the audience and more importantly, the victims and future victims of those horrendous offences. The election was held some weeks later and the candidate from the largest national party was elected. As I left the election count that hustings meeting was still on my mind. Like an unsolved puzzle, the audience questions and our responses were going around and around in my head.
Rightly or wrongly, I felt there was more we could do and I was going to do it, whatever “it” was. What I didn’t know is that this was the first step to becoming a qualified polygraph examiner or to give it its official title a Forensic Psychophsyiologist.
I suppose to a degree, I was in a privileged position to research the law, policies and procedures that form the framework of a successful prosecution case. I had interviewed both victims and alleged rapists during my police career. Later as a defence advocate I had represented suspects for the offence following their arrest, briefed defence solicitors and barristers and given evidence in every level of court from Magistrates to the Royal Courts of Justice. The same answer came up time and again. The suspect would be released without charge because there was insufficient supporting
evidence. It was this that turned my attention to how other countries investigate these offences and during that research I identified that many countries use the polygraph as part of the interviewing and evidence gathering procedure.
At every polygraph examination I am asked by clients how the polygraph works and in lay-mans terms I try to explain but that is different to actually understanding and evidencing it works. There was only one alternative, I had to qualify as an examiner myself.
Over the next two years I trained at the leading Backster School of Lie Detection at their European School in Bulgaria. I qualified and was then invited to stay and work with some of the most experienced trainers, examiners and psychologists working for the Assess Group. Over the next two years, It was there that I gained the real experience of conducting polygraph examinations on criminal suspects and importantly, I was able to evaluate the accuracy of the examinations results through eventual confessions.
On my permanent return to the UK I formed our present company. Every member of my team are highly qualified and experienced and have been head hunted by me personally. Every examiner is registered with both the American Polygraph Association and British Polygraph Association and I ensure that continual professional development training, provided by the very best individuals and international organisations is attended by every examiner.
As the now deceased Cleve Backster, who was universally acknowledged as a leading pioneer of the modern polygraph process would say “Do the right thing when no one is looking”. That just about sums us up.
Thank you for reading.