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Sexual Offences

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL7155, tabled on 23 April 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which evidence of the efficacy and cost effectiveness of polygraph testing of sex offenders is strong enough to support the roll out of a national programme to monitor sex offenders’ compliance with licence conditions and supervision designed to control or minimise the risk that such offenders pose to the community.

Answered on

8 May 2018

Sections 28 to 30 of The Offender Management Act 2007 (the 2007 Act) enable a polygraph licence condition to be added to the release licence of certain sex offenders. Initially, the condition was available in only eight Probation Trusts, by way of a pilot of mandatory polygraph testing. In July 2013, following research by Kent University it was agreed to make the condition available nationally.

Several criteria must be met for a sex offender to qualify for mandatory polygraph testing:

  • the offender must be over 18;
  • the offender must be subject to a period on licence, having received a custodial sentence of 12 months or more;
  • the offender must be on licence for a specified sexual offence as defined by part 2 of schedule 15 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003; and
  • the offender must be assessed as high or very high risk of serious harm and high or very high risk of reoffending.

In limited circumstances, offenders who are not assessed as high or very high risk of reoffending may be required to undertake polygraph testing by way of licence condition. For this to be approved, there must be evidence of dynamic risk factors which indicate an increase in risk such that that risk may be mitigated by polygraph testing.