Nottingham lie detector tests for sex offenders

Nottingham Police officers are protecting the public by monitoring sex offenders using lie detector testing.

The new equipment

The brand new polygraph device is now being used by specially-trained detectives. The idea is to ensure offenders are abiding by the court orders placed on them at the time of their sentencing.

Based at Mansfield Police Station, the machine is operated by a team of two detectives who recently took a ten-week training course. The course was overseen by experts from the United States.

How the equipment helps our Police forces

The equipment is now being used alongside a range of other measures to help police monitor offenders’ behaviour, therefore ensuring the communities safety.

Other techniques used every day by public protection officers include in-person visits and interviews, property searches and the use of online monitoring software.

The future of Polygraph testing

Detective Inspector Luke Waller heads up the management of violent and sexual offenders unit at Nottinghamshire Police. He said: “When people commit serious violent and sexual offences they are often made the subject of court orders that tightly control their behaviour when they are released.

“They may for example be banned from making contact with children. They may also not be allowed electronic devices like laptops and phones. We already have very effective ways of ensuring these orders are being met. However, the polygraph machine is another tool at our disposal. It can give a very clear indication of where further investigation is needed.”

The results

Polygraph machines work by measuring physiological responses that can otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. When these responses are properly analysed it can be ascertained with a high degree of confidence whether somebody is seeking to deceive.

The lie detector team recently interviewed its first person in November. The interview was part of an investigation into hidden electrical devices. It reported a negative finding back to his monitoring officer.

The future for Nottingham

Detective Constable Paul Parish said: “As a police detective I would like to think I am pretty good at telling when people are lying to me. However, I know that I am not as good as a specialist machine designed to do that specific job. That’s why this technology is so useful. It can help me to confirm my suspicions and make appropriate decisions from there”

Detective Constable Parish and his colleague Detective Constable Chris Belton are now two of only 49 qualified police polygraph examiners in the UK

They are both members of the specialist management of violent and sexual offenders (MOSOVO) unit. The unit works every day to supervise violent and sexual offenders across the county.