High-risk sex offenders will be given mandatory polygraph tests every six months under new government plans.
High-risk sex offenders will be given mandatory polygraph tests every six months under new government plans.Reuters

High-risk sex offenders in the UK are to undergo compulsory lie detector tests under new plans announced by the Ministry of Justice.

Up to 1,000 offenders will be given polygraph tests every six months. The aim is to monitor convicted paedophiles more closely and reduce the danger they pose to the public, according to Sky News.

Seven officers will administer tests to sex offenders deemed at high risk of reoffending or those convicted of the most serious offences in a 12-week training programme coordinated by US polygraph experts.

Don Grubin, professor of forensic psychiatry at Newcastle University, whose company Behavioural Measures will train officers, said the aim of the testing is to assist managers in supervising offenders.

"There is not a specific crime you are investigating, not a specific security breach - it's much more of a general tool to look at how they are behaving under supervision and to see whether there is a need to intervene," Grubin told Sky News.

"It's important to emphasise that nobody will be recalled because they failed a test. Polygraph testing both facilitates the disclosure of information and alerts offender managers to possible deception, allowing them to work with offenders in a more focused way."

In addition to undergoing lie detector tests, the government also announced plans to monitor offenders using satellite tags, and make use of "chemically castrating" libido suppressant drugs.

"We are determined that Britain has one of the toughest regimes in the world for managing sex offenders to stop reoffending and to protect victims," Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said.

The government said a pilot lie detector scheme conducted between 2009 and 2011 in the East and West Midlands found that offenders who took the test were twice as likely to admit having breached the terms of their licence or confess to having thoughts that suggested they continued to pose a risk.

Sex offenders currently have to abide by a series of licence conditions including signing the sex offenders' register and adhering to curfews, exclusion zones, non-contact orders and internet restrictions.

According to official UK government statistics, between 2011 and 2012, the police recorded a total of 53,700 sex offences across England and Wales.