In a shameful bid to score political points and to boost the failing reputation of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, the government has announced that, despite the fact that the devices are so unreliable that the evidence obtained from them is not allowed to be used in court, the use of polygraph testing or “Lie Detectors”, is nevertheless to be rolled out across the UK after having been “successfully” piloted on sex offenders in the Midlands
However, TheOpinionSite.org has also been told that the use of lie detectors may eventually be expanded to include many other suspected offenders as well, particularly where no ‘real’ evidence is available.
The use of polygraph testing in the UK was authorised by the previous Labour government under Tony Blair after he was subjected to newspaper campaigns citing the allegedly “successful” use of lie detectors in the US.
In response to pressure from the News of the World and child protection groups – including lobbying from commercial companies offering to provide the tests – Blair set up a three year pilot scheme targeting sex offenders that had been released on licence.
Now, the present government has decided to force inmates to take the test even before they are released and this will inevitably be expanded to include those people who are suspected but not convicted of an offence.
However, a source close to the government has told TheOpinionSite.org that the latest move to roll out lie detector tests to the whole of the country is a largely political move attempting to improve public confidence in the beleaguered and failing Home Secretary, Theresa May and that eventually, the tests will be applied to all criminals serving a sentence of more than 4 years as police are now expected to demand the same powers as the probation service.
Mrs. May is presently under fire from all quarters over everything from failures in Olympic Games security to immigration, her introduction of the reviled “Internet Snooping” legislation (Communication Bill), the erosion of remaining civil liberties under the guise of ‘prevention of terrorism’ and the failure to deport foreign criminals.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron – also in a heap of political trouble – is said to have ordered ministers to evaluate the costs of expanding the scheme across the country. Tests currently cost between £500 – 700 each but are not regarded as being sufficiently reliable to even allow their use in a junior magistrate’s court, let alone where more serious cases are involved.
Nevertheless, it is likely that the money will be found rather than risk a potentially embarrassing fight between Downing Street and the police and probation services; Cameron will do anything to avoid even more public and media criticism for his Conservative led policies.
The test results are acknowledged as being unreliable and can be faked by the person under interrogation by following simple instructions widely available on Google and in any case, are often wrongly “interpreted” by so-called “expert” operators who report the results to the organisation paying for the service; in practice, this is the police or probation officer ‘managing’ the sex offender.
It seems though that only negative traits are sought after. Anything indicating lower risk is either ignored or questions that could specifically indicate lower risk are not asked in the first place.
TheOpinionSite.org must point out the bigger threat however that once the tests are made available nationally, it will only be a matter of time before all police forces in the UK are using the lie detector tests on everyone arrested on suspicion of having committed anything regarded by the police as being a serious offence.
One senior lawyer told us:
“A lie detector test is the perfect “blunt weapon” to use where evidence is thin and the police or probation officer decides to go on a “fishing trip” in the hope of finding something to justify their actions or opinion.”
UK police have for some time been considering using lie detector tests to help secure criminal convictions; something which is common in the United States but not in Europe.
Hertfordshire police are currently experimenting with how the tests could help solve cases and although British police have never routinely used lie detectors, ministers have been debating for several years whether they should have a bigger role in guiding officers.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has established a working group to advise forces contemplating the use of lie detectors, particularly with regard to the management of offenders convicted of sexual offences against children.
This concentration on sex offenders is due not only to the belief by the police that all sex offenders reoffend, even though their own official figures show that nothing is further from the truth but also to the fact that the police and other law enforcement agencies find it easy to get what they want if they link their demands to “child protection”.
Maintaining public fear and the perception that there is a child sex offender on every street corner is a useful device for keeping public protection unit police personnel employed and also provides the perfect excuse to demand more money from the government at a time when police budgets are being cut.
The problem is that these decisions are being made on the basis of flawed “professional judgement” rather than being evidence based. This use of so-called “professional judgement” effectively allows the police and probation services to get away with anything they want as long as they deem it necessary in order to “protect children”, politicians being too afraid to argue with them.
Detective Chief Inspector Glen Channer, the head of Hertfordshire police’s child protection unit, tried to justify the use of lie detectors by saying:
“Lie detectors are a welcome addition to the force’s armoury of investigative techniques”.
He went on to say, “The devices offer a better insight into the risks posed by offenders, enabling officers to prioritise certain cases over others to improve efficiency.”
Note as well the careful use of the words, “…better insight into the risks posed by offenders”, not just “sex offenders.”
However, TheOpinionSite.org believes that all of this is self-serving rubbish delivered by the police in order to try and justify the unjustifiable.
If the tests were really at all reliable, their results would be admissible in court, which they are not.
The fact is that the police and probation services will support the use of anything that gives them more power. This has been the case for years and whenever they have linked their demands or support to anything to do with child protection – regardless of the effects on the freedoms of others – the government has usually given in and always will, regardless of the fact that every time it does so, it strips away more freedoms from ordinary people and increases the power of the State.
As Adolf Hitler so eloquently put it in his book, “Mein Kampf”:
“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
If the British public is really sufficiently stupid or naive to believe that the use of unreliable lie detectors will be reserved solely for sex offenders on licence from prison or only for the protection of children, then that same British public deserves everything it gets.
Currently, those opposed to the release of IPP prisoners will also be thrilled by the fact that the tests are to be given to all serious offenders before they are assessed for Parole. Obviously, that includes IPP prisoners as they are all technically classified as being “dangerous” – whether they really are or not.
If an IPP prisoner fails a polygraph test, it is probable that the probation service and/or the police will attempt to block his release.
Whilst TheOpinionSite.org can accept that when tested, some offenders may reveal information that they would not otherwise have revealed, the fact still remains that just as the authorities currently ignore any risk assessment that places an offender at anything other than “high risk”, so they will equally ignore any lie detector test that suggests the prisoner is not as “high risk” as they would like.
Thanks to the Leveson Inquiry and numerous Parliamentary Committee reports – not to mention the ever increasing number of policemen arrested for perjury, handling of Class A drugs, possession of child pornography, fabricating evidence, using the Police National Computer illegally and even sexual assault – we know that many police and also many of their “professional” partners such as probation officers cannot be trusted to tell the truth.
Whilst the majority would not, there will always be some – particularly when dealing with politically sensitive cases such as child sex abuse – that will use the test results for their own ends or in order to unofficially “extend” the sentence or period of supervision of an offender.
Offenders that are satisfactorily fulfilling the requirements of their release licence may still be sent back to prison solely on the grounds that the polygraph test results show that they “may” be going to reoffend, even where there is no other evidence to suggest any such thing and no new offence has actually been committed, just as in the US.
To its eternal shame, Britain loves to slavishly follow America rather than Europe and, in doing so, not only emulates the good things of the USA but also child-like, copies the bad.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that the nationwide introduction of lie detector tests for sex offenders on licence will result in the worst kind of “mission creep” by the authorities and will inevitably lead to the use of the tests on everyone.
The danger is that if someone refuses to submit themselves to a polygraph test, their guilt will be automatically assumed, regardless of the lack of any real evidence, regardless of the effect on the individual and their family and regardless of the increased erosion of precious civil liberties, most of which have been taken away already.
It looks as if Adolf was right after all; we in Britain really are stupid enough to put up with anything in the name of “child protection”, even if to do so insidiously permeates society with the cancer of ever increasing police power and eventually makes us all liable to arrest and imprisonment for something that we have not done.
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