Normal Topic British Police officer on a Fulbright Award (Read 8174 times)
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British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Jan 5th, 2002 at 2:55am
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Dear Sirs,

I am a police officer from the United Kingdom. I am currently in the USA for 5 months on a Fulbright Scholarship ( at the moment I am feeling the cold in Buffalo , NY !)

I am researching the methods used in North America re the monitoring of sex offenders on release from prison ( once back in the community ) .

Several police departments have informed me that they use the polygraph as a tool in monitoring sex offenders ( I have been referred to a journal called "Polygraph" Volume 29, year 2000 issue 1  which in its entirety deals with such testing ) .

We do not use the polygraph in the UK . Until I saw your web site ( after an internet search ) as a lay person , the polygraph appeared to be a viable tool ( UK legal issues of usage aside , of which I am not aware of ) .

I would be very grateful if you would be so kind as to give me your views on the pros and cons of the polygraph as a tool for such monitoring.I wish to present a balanced argument .More importantly , I wish to give my superiors options to consider that will work in the monitoring of sex offenders once back in the community .

I understand that your time is valuable and any help that you can give me will be useful.

Sgt Rod Cousins Metropolitan Police , London , UK







  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #1 - Jan 5th, 2002 at 9:16pm
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SGT Cousins,

The main argument for post-conviction polygraph screening seems to be that it encourages admissions from those "tested."

However, polygraph "testing" has no scientific basis: it is a pseudoscientific fraud. It has an inherent bias against the truthful, because the more honestly one answers the so-called "control" questions, the more likely one is to "fail" the "test." Perhaps more importantly from a public safety perspective, deceptive individuals who understand the trickery on which polygraph "testing" depends can handily defeat the "test" by covertly augmenting their reactions to the "control" questions.

When those using the polygraph themselves believe in this pseudoscience (which is usually the case in the United States), there is a risk that deceptive individuals will escape further scrutiny by virtue of their having passed a polygraph test.

For further information on polygraphy that I think you will find useful, see The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and the sources cited there.

  

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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #2 - Jan 6th, 2002 at 2:30am
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Sgt. Cousins,

I am the web master of www.stopolygraph.com. Unfortunately, my professional and family demands have not allowed me to comment on the message board, but I believe no void has been felt due to the competent members who routinely respond to the posts.

I felt compelled to respond to your inquiry due to the enormous respect I have for your great country and to share with you my thoughts as a police officer.

I am a police officer, currently working in investigations. I have investigated everything from financial crimes, sex crimes, and most recently a multiple defendant homicide whereupon five people were murdered.  I take great pride in my investigations and will not put my name on it unless I can defend it in Court. This has led to not only commendations from prosecutors but also from defense attorneys for my tenacious and fair efforts.  

I’m sure during your law enforcement tenure you have used props or ruses during criminal investigations. The ruses could range from telling a defendant that his fingerprints were located at the crime scene or that a hidden camera captured the defendant committing the crime.

Depending on the delivery of the interrogator, coupled with the ignorance of the defendant, the technique can be very effective. To enhance these ruses, often time’s props are introduced. The purpose of a polygraph is a prop to use during a criminal investigation/interrogation to solicit admissions and confessions. To the end that it accounts for an admission or confession it is very effective. HOWEVER; to use the results to make any type of decision is completely reckless and slander. I will explain.

It is slander to use the results because the polygraph doesn’t work. It is common sense. The human body is entirely too complicated for some person to go to polygraph school and completely understand human physiology, emotions, cardiovascular system, breathing, the central nervous system, and how it interrelates with the brain. Even veteran physicians would not attempt such a ridiculous endeavor.

When you pin a “grapher” or “chart roller” down about about why a person reacted, they will fall back on, “something had to cause that reaction.” Gee, how original. It is their responsibility if they are going to conclusively diagnose a person a liar what caused that reaction. If they cannot say for certain what caused that reaction, then they have no business making a diagnosis.

Literally, it is impossible to determine why a person reacts to a question. Could they be lying, maybe. Could they have subconscious reaction or sensitively to the question, maybe? Could it be something in the human body that the person can’t account for, maybe. Could it be that the Secret Service Agent conducting the test just made threatening gestures while yelling at the applicant seconds before hooking him to a polygraph, most likely (as this is standard operating procedure for the Secret Service.)  

The accounts of victims who have been innocent and have had their lives tarnished on a wrong diagnosis are many. This leads me to my next area why it is reckless to use the results of a polygraph.

Reckless Part 1:

Whether they admit it or not, most law enforcement will either or clear or focus on a suspect based on the polygraph results.   This has led to many serious failures. Innocent people are the subject of intense investigations, while the guilty continue to perpetuate their crimes.  Most recently, I was speaking with a fellow detective who was telling me a person cleared by a polygraph test many years ago on child molesting charges was recently arrested and admitted to lying during the polygraph and perpetuating his crimes years after the police cleared him. Untold numbers of victims were subject to this monster because the “polygraph” cleared him and set the police on a different direction.

Reckless Part 2:

I will focus on countermeasures by the sex offender. The sex offender is one of the most sophisticated and computer savvy criminals. They have the ability to search the Internet by typing the word “polygraph” on a search engine and learning effective countermeasures so they can perpetuate their crimes. The polygraph is tool to assist the child molester. Frankly, the polygraph can be one of the best strategic tools for the molestation of children.

Lets say a sex offender must be routinely polygraphed. The sex offender invests about 30 seconds to one minute to locate countermeasures resources on the web. Let’s say he invests another ten minutes to learn counter interrogation tactics. For example, look at the web site http://www.doc.state.vt.us/sex.htm which gives a detailed outline of the script the interrogator is most likely going to follow.

Now armed with this information, the sex offender is given a polygraph and subsequently he passes the test. The reporting authorities are slapping themselves on the back for a job well done as they have “intimidated” the subject into compliance and can reduce or eliminate other probation tactics such as supervision.

When in reality this polygraph certified sex offender is molesting children. Frankly, based on my advanced training and experience as a police officer, I have no doubt the  sexual offender criminal community already has such information posted and is employing such tactics on these allegedly successful programs. Law enforcement applicants are employing countermeasures  everyday, so why would sex offenders be any different. There is a saying never under estimate the enemy. Having any faith in polygraph results is essentially handing your opponent the keys to criminal activity.

Please, do your country a favor. Stay away from polygraph and stick with legitimate investigative techniques where you can rest assured that someone you cleared by polygraph will not come back to haunt you.  





 


  
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #3 - Jan 6th, 2002 at 4:45am
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Dear Sirs,
Thank you both for taking the time to respond to my request for information.Both replies are detailed and reasoned .Already they have helped me to a greater  understanding of the polygraph.
I intend to take the time to read the articles and web pages that you have suggested to me ( along with the Polygraph Journel Vol 29 , Year 2000 number 1 ) .
No doubt , I will have further questions which I hope that you feel you will be able to assist me with.
I also had the pleasure to speak to Mr Doug Williams today on the telephone who was very helpful.
The bottom line is that I wish to do what I can to stop sex offenders .I want to ensure that the options I suggest work and are pratical.The time you have taken in replying to me has helped immensely.
Finally, thank you for your kind words about the United Kingdom.As a country we have always supported the US with more than words in times of need and I believe we will continue to do so .
Regards,
Rod Cousins
  
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #4 - Jan 6th, 2002 at 5:49am
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Bill Roche, I must commend you on your post, you hit it right on the head.  I just wish that law enforcement applicants were not put in this situation as well, b/c as you said, many innocent people get eliminated and this tool is used as a disqualifying factor.  If all of the governmental employees, and law enforcement employees encompassed your integrity, and professionalism, trust me there would not be a need for these polygraphs, but since even if one person is honest he or she still has a 50/50 shot of failing which is BS to me.  I wish you were a member of this forum, I would like to ask you some questions, but I understand the importance of your anonymity.
  
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #5 - Jan 7th, 2002 at 12:10am
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Dear The Rock.

Thank you for your kind words. I completely agree of the travesty that law enforcement applicants suffer being subjected to polygraph screening. The devastation of an innocent person being accused of something they did not do goes against the grain of our society.

Trust me, I am not worried about my anonymity.   I simply have been so busy the past couple of years between starting a family, moving, and my caseload I just haven’t had the time to participate in the discussions on the board. However, the responses of the regulars of the board are right on and I truly felt I could not have added anything additional to the postings.  

However, if there is a perspective I can provide to any questions, I want to make myself available. I routinely receive e-mails generated from my website which usually takes what little discretionary time I have. However, what extra time I do have I will be more than happy to add it here. I have just registered as member of this forum.

My e-mail address is support@stopolygraph.com
« Last Edit: Feb 27th, 2003 at 6:55am by Bill Roche »  
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #6 - Jan 8th, 2002 at 4:23am
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     Dear Sir,
    It is my humble opinion that your country (whom i also share a great deal of admiration for) has not introduced polygraphing for a very good reason.  The results are unscientific, and put innocent people at risk.  I wish you a happy stay here and would thank you to leave that stone unturned.  It's best to leave the barbaric practice here, where it will hopefully be rooted out once and for all. 
                          With all respect, Grin
  
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #7 - Jan 10th, 2002 at 11:13am
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Sgt. Cousins,

Thank you for your post.

Although the large number of false accusations inherent in polygraph "testing" are reason enough alone to decide against it, the fact that any sex offender can easily defeat a polygraph "test" with the information found on this site (and elsewhere online) makes implementation of "polygraph" testing a truly unwise idea. We provide this information not to help sex offenders beat the “tests,” but to help law enforcement officers and other government employees (and applicants for these positions) protect themselves from all-too-common erroneous results.

In 1988, Congress banned private companies in the US from even asking employees or job applicants to take polygraph “tests.” The legislation ordering the ban, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, was passed after numerous impartial organizations like the American Medical Association testified to the complete lack of accuracy in polygraph “tests.” Civil rights groups also presented numerous credible reports of abusive behavior by polygraph examiners.

Following the 1988 ban, the once lucrative business of conducting polygraph examinations dried up overnight. In recent years, examiners have aggressively pursued sex offender “testing” as a way to make up the lost business (pre-employment “testing” of police applicants makes up the other substantial part of most examiners’ income). I posit that sex offenders were not selected by mistake. I’m sure that examiners sleep well at night knowing sex offenders are the perfect group upon which to ply this fraudulent trade. There is no group in society with less standing to advance allegations of false accusations and abusive behavior by polygraph examiners.

Keep this in mind when thinking critically about what you read in Polygraph. This magazine is a trade journal for polygraph examiners, many of whom make a substantial part of their living through sex-offender "testing." Instead of putting much weight in what is written by those who make money from polygraph “testing,” I would spend my time reading the comments of impartial scientists like Dr. David Lykken of the University of Minnesota and Dr. Drew C. Richardson (formerly of the FBI laboratory division).

While on the topic of Polygraph, you should know that our review of the last 25 years of the magazine has turned up not one article explaining how polygraph examiners purport to detect countermeasures (techniques that can be used to beat the test).

If you doubt what we say, I suggest that you conduct a little experiment on your own. Read The Lie Behind the Lie Detector and train yourself in polygraph countermeasures. Then find an experienced examiner and set up a mock polygraph “test” where you lie on all of the relevant questions. Better yet, train one of your superiors and let him participate in the experiment. Afterwards, let him know that this same information is available online to all sex offenders.

Like the others who have posted on this thread, I have great respect for the UK. I only hope that your great nation will not follow in the footsteps of our mistake and implement polygraph “testing.” I strongly suggest that you fully research the issue before giving the polygraph trade a foothold in Great Britain. If polygraphy does become established, you can bet that the examiners will look to expand their business in much the same way American examiners did following 1988.

Before you know it, you may end up with the same situation we have here with out-out-control polygraphing of law enforcement officers and applicants. A majority of law enforcement agencies (including elite federal agencies like the FBI, Secret Service, and DEA) are now polygraphing job applicants. Those who “fail” are rejected and often blacklisted from hiring with other agencies. There is no appeal process. Furthermore, many agencies use the polygraph extensively in internal investigations of police officers accused of misconduct. We have even heard from officers that have been forced to submit to polygraph “tests” over something as simple as a dented fender on a patrol car.

In conclusion, polygraph “testing” when evaluated by independent scientists has been proven to be a total fraud. Even the small minority of academics who support polygraph “tests” in specific issue investigations (where a crime has been committed and only one of a number of people could have done it), even they overwhelmingly reject “screening” applications of polygraphy (which includes “tests” conducted on sex offenders and law enforcement officers). Polygraphy is no more of a tool in determining truth vs. deception than coin flip. In actuality, the coin flip has one tremendous advantage over the polygraph—it cannot be manipulated by sex offenders who take the time to learn countermeasures to come out in their favor.
  
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Re: British Police officer on a Fulbright Award
Reply #8 - Feb 7th, 2002 at 12:54am
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Polygraphs are good for those to weak to control their behavior or embarrassed to admit to some of their  8)perversions, these people are intimidated by a semi skilled examiner and tell all so to speak. I as a "recovering sex offender have to take them every 4 months at 160.00 each. And have been taking them for 5 years. What a cash cow. The examiner has never once has accussed me of something I did in the past 5 years. He tried a few times the usual boot up questions that put me on to him from day one.The major point is if you are not embarrassed or if you DON'T FEEL GUILTY for something you did the test will not involke an emotional responce therefore it is useless. I have not molested any children (in 11 years), but he always says something is in need of work (fantisies is his favorite)and would I like to talk about it. Usualy it is the fact that the test does not work that involkes an emotional responce, and that I am throwing money away for it in the name of theripy.It particuly gauls me that they don't work and I have to pay for them. I would not mind taking the foolish test if someone else paid for it. Secondly the examiner has to lie and perpitrate a fraud to get any confessions that he may get from others.
In summery Polygraphs work on the ignorant and uninformed. I 8) 8)
  
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