Date Responded 27 June 2018

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

a) In the last three years how many polygraph tests have been carried out at by the force, or at its request, broken down by year and the broad aim of the test. (I wish to be clear here I'm not asking for the specific offence or circumstances but the general objective - eg management of risk posed by a sex offenders or similar)

b) Any proposals seen by the leadership of the force (e.g Chief Constable or Assistant Chief constable level) for the application of polygraph testing in new areas of work, produced in the last three years. Please indicate if the proposal was accepted, rejected or remains under consideration.

c) Any evaluations of the force's use of polygraph testing produced in the last three years.

d) If not already answered in a) the broad reasons for which the force carries out polygraph tests.


In Response:

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

 Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Safeguarding Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

a)    2017 – 68 examinations (68 x Risk Management)

2018 – 42 examinations (41 x Risk Management, 1 x SHPO Compliance) 

b)    Proposals which were included in the Chief Officer Team report in April 2018 were –

(Remains under consideration) 

Domestic Abuse Voluntary Perpetrator Programmes (DVPP) 

The proposal is to offer individuals who have volunteered to par-take in a DVPP, a polygraph examination at the mid-assessment point. The result of a polygraph may assist in an individual confirming their compliance with the programme or could identify previously unknown behaviours which could subsequently be addressed by the programme facilitator.

Conditional Cautions

The proposal is to offer (where appropriate) a Conditional Caution (Polygraph Condition) as an alternative to simple caution or charge for Registered Sex Offenders who have committed a Breach Of Sex Offender Registration Requirements. Only Registered Sex Offenders (RSO), who are currently under the management of MAPPA, will only be considered in the use of Conditional Cautions (Polygraph Condition). 

The Conditional Caution, offers an alternative to the current regime, which not only gives a substantive outcome, but also allows, via the polygraph condition a way of establishing current risk and managing the future risk of those individuals.

c)    The evaluation carried out as part of the Eyedetect project was not an evaluation of polygraph, therefore Northumbria have not conducted an evaluation of polygraph. 

d)    Northumbria Police continue to use polygraph examinations to assist in the risk assessment and management of post-conviction sexual offenders (any person subject to the notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

The process enables Risk Management Officers (RMO’s) to make a more accurate assessment the offender’s risk of reoffending as well as informing and contributing to the Active Risk Management System (ARMS) assessment. The information gained during the polygraph can identify previously concealed risk areas (i.e. concealed child contact, concealed relationships, breaches of order/registration requirements etc.) as well as supporting a reduction in risk of an individual where appropriate. Where polygraph contributes to an ARMS assessment which results in a reduction in the level of risk, the benefit is resource implication of managing that RSO is also reduced.

back to top