Guidelines to help you make an informed decision when choosing a UK Polygraph Examiner
Most professional polygraph examiners in the UK are highly trained, fully qualified professionals who are accredited by the APA (American Polygraph Association). However, as applies to most industries ours is highly competitive and there are a few cowboys around.
You can instantly recognise the ‘ne’er do wells’ because they are not accredited by the APA. Sometimes even those accredited by the APA let competition get the better of them. They are, after all, experts in deception detection but not always experts in running businesses. Rarely you may find polygraph examiners who criticise other APA members because they have not learned the first rule of marketing – do not slate the opposition. They may do this because they do not have much business, or perhaps work in a slightly different way to other examiners. It is hard to believe that professionals in the polygraph industry would behave in this way, but occasionally it happens.
Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed decision when choosing an examiner and avoid pitfalls along the way:
If you have doubts about your chosen examiner’s accreditation you can easily search for them on the APA website (click here to start your search). In the UK the Polygraph Industry is not regulated but the APA is the ‘go to’ authority which is why anyone training to be an examiner covets APA accreditation. Police officers in the UK, conducting compulsory lie detector tests for monitoring certain types of offenders, are all APA accredited.
Whilst there are various British polygraph associations serving UK police officers, who have undergone training to become polygraph examiners, do not belong to any British polygraph associations. You may find a few ex or retired police officers who do. As long as they are also APA accredited you can feel confident that they are professionals.
You can get all of the information you need about an accredited polygraph examiner from the APA. This includes whether or not the examiner has committed to ongoing training which is a condition of accreditation. Some polygraph companies advise that you ask for certificates, CVs, proof of qualifications, which school the examiner attended etc. It is important to understand that your polygraph examiner is not applying for a job with you or your organisation. You are ordering a lie detector test that you want to be administered by a suitably qualified professional. If the examiner is not a professional, they will not be accredited by the APA. So you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by visiting the APA website.
2. Continuous Professional Development
Before ordering your lie detector test ask the examiner whether the equipment being used is the latest in polygraph technology. If it is, you know you are getting the best and that the examiner is strictly adhering to compulsory CPD (Continuous Professional Development). This is essential for them to maintain their accreditation with the APA and involves committing to a minimum of 30 hours of CPD training bi annually. All polygraph examiners working for or with Lie Detector Test UK are CPD compliant.
Examiners using the old analogue equipment should be viewed with suspicion. For optimum accuracy the latest computerised technology is best and is the type all our examiners use.
All examiners at Lie Detector Test UK have been rigorously screened to ensure they have the correct qualifications and accreditation including background and criminal record checks.
3. Data Protection and Confidentiality
The nature of our industry is that the services of Lie Detector Test UK must be highly confidential. For this reason, it is imperative that we are registered with the ICO (Information Commissioners Office). You should not entertain the idea of using examiners that are not registered with the ICO. Your data is important to us and we are fully ICO compliant.
Usually you will see the logo of the ICO on polygraph service suppliers’ websites. You can contact the ICO to ensure that your chosen polygraph service supplier is registered with the Commissioners by clicking here. There is a live chat facility should you wish to find out anything quickly.
4. Fees and Cancellation
The fee for a lie detector test varies in the UK depending on the amount of questions to be asked and where it takes place. However, the average price for a single issue test is around £395 to £495. If you are offered a test at a significantly lower or higher price you should question it.
Before booking the test make sure that there are no hidden costs. The price quoted should include VAT and be fixed.
Most polygraph examination providers do not refund a booking fee. This is usually stated clearly on their websites. If it is not, ask. If you have paid the full amount for a test and need to cancel, depending on the terms and conditions of the provider, normally you will be offered an alternative date. Invariably the test will need to be done within a month of the booking if you are offered an alternative appointment. If you cannot make the alternative date or have some other reason for cancelling, provided you give 48 hours’ notice, your money will normally be refunded less the booking fee.
Should you find that the polygraph examiner offers no refund you might want to think about looking for another provider.
5. Duration of test and results
The average time allocated for a lie detector test is 2 hours depending on the complexity of the issue. This will encompass the pre-test interview and the test.
If you are offered a polygraph examination over the phone or internet, this is a scam. Do not book it or pay any money for it. There is no technology currently available that detects deception on the phone or via the internet.
The examiner may be able to give you the results verbally after the test. The fully analysed report is usually available within 24 hours. It is always best to use an examiner who gets his or her report peer reviewed. This means that another fully qualified polygraph examiner checks the report for accuracy.
Although a polygraph examination is commonly referred to as a lie detector test the process detects deception or the lack of it. The terminology in your report should reflect this. If it does not, ask why.
Contained within the report will be:
- The name of the examiner including contact details
- Date of the polygraph examination
- Name of the subject
- Pre-acquaintance notes
- Questions that were asked (maximum of 4)
- Analysis of responses
The report should be signed by the examiner.
If any or all of these components are missing, query it.
6. Customer Care
At Lie Detector Test UK, we have a dedicated Customer Support Team. They will be the first point of contact when communicating with our company. They can answer any queries you may have regarding the examination process.
If you need or want to speak with a polygraph examiner our Customer Support staff will arrange it. Our polygraph examiners are not switchboard operators and do not answer calls directly. This is usually because they are out conducting lie detector tests, analysing results and having them peer reviewed.
Our polygraph examiners dedicate some time each week to answering questions that are sent to us by email. The queries and answers are sometimes published on our blog to help others who may find themselves in similar situations.
Some companies do have polygraph examiners answering telephones in which case you might want to consider how big the organisation is, or indeed how busy it is.
Most customers check reviews nowadays and Lie Detector Test UK is registered with the most reliable review site on the internet – Trust Pilot. We currently have the most reviews of any polygraph service provider in the UK. Trust Pilot works very hard to ensure that no fake reviews can be posted and that all reviews are genuine, good or bad.
If a polygraph service provider only has reviews on their own website ask to speak to one of the clients who have left a review.
Usually when a website is set up you are allocated a number of email addresses. Beware companies that have no dedicated email addresses connected with their website and use web based Hotmail or Gmail. It’s not very professional and should give rise to concern about stability and professionality.
Be wary of polygraph examiners who denigrate the work of other examiners when they are all accredited by the APA. If you have a genuine complaint the APA is where you should seek advice. Whilst no Polygraph Association has jurisdiction in the UK, including the British ones you can be assured of unbiased advice from the APA. The fact that British Police polygraph examiners are accredited by the APA, speaks volumes as to its credibility.
Over time we have written some blog posts related to choosing a polygraph examiner and what to be wary of. You can access them below:
We hope we have provided you with some useful guidelines but if you would like further advice please call our free helpline on 0800 368 8277.