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Lie detection tests for convicted domestic abuse offenders is a costly distraction

Matthew Hardcastle questions the inclusion of polygraph testing in the government’s recent draft domestic abuse bill

15 February 2019

One of the more striking features of the government’s draft domestic abuse bill, which was published 21 January, was the proposed extension of the ‘polygraph condition’ to convicted offenders’ licences.

The ‘polygraph condition’ already has a statutory base in the Offender Management Act 2007, but it is presently limited to those who have been convicted of serious sexual offences.

If passed in its current form, the domestic abuse bill would introduce the polygraph condition as a permissible feature of the licence for an offender convicted of a specified domestic abuse offence.

The introduction of polygraph testing to the bill received significant media coverage but it is questionable what impact the scheme will have, aside from its financial cost.

The government’s impact assessment estimates that a three-year pilot of the scheme would cost in the region of £500,000 per year (a total cost across the three-year pi...

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