Polygraph tests are widely in use among the various police forces in the UK. Monitoring sex offenders when released on licence is the main reason they are utilised. With much controversy surrounding decisions made by the parole board this year, it seems logical they should introduce lie detector tests for prisoners as part of the parole decision making process.
One such case to justify this is that of John Worboys, currently known as John Radford, and infamously, the Black Cab Rapist.
Police secured convictions for attacks on a dozen women in 2009. The offences ranged from sexual assault to rape and drugging offences. The trial judge, Mr Justice Penry-Davey (now deceased), didn’t place a specific time on the length of his incarceration apart from stating Worboys would have to serve a minimum of eight years in prison. Thereafter, it would be left to the parole board to decide on his release date based on whether or not he continued to pose a threat to women.
Worboys operated in Dorset where he was living in holiday accommodation and also in London. He collected female passengers late at night after they had been out drinking. On occasion he would act like a ‘good Samaritan’ offering to take women home for a reduced price if they were short of the taxi fare. Once in the cab he would regale them with tales of how he had won a large amount of cash on the lottery, at the races or in casinos. He then offered them a drink to celebrate with him. The drinks were laced with sedatives. When the victims passed out or became confused he then got in the back of the cab and sexually assaulted them.
After Worboys was convicted, police received further allegations from victims. Some were instantly compensated and others investigated. Police believe it’s possible there could be over 100 other victims. Many may not have come forward due to the fact that having been drugged, they won’t remember exactly what happened to them. Others may have different reasons for not doing so.
Earlier this year, the Parole Board decided that Worboys was no longer a danger and that he would be released from prison. If let out there is little doubt that he would have been subjected to periodic polygraph examinations as part of the release conditions. However, a better idea would be to include lie detector tests for prisoners before they are released. The results together with other gathered information would provide a much clearer picture in the Parole Board decision making process.
Victims were concerned about his release and those who had not come forward, would be equally anxious. After all in most, if not all, cases he knows where they live.
As a result of public outrage and perseverance of victims, the High Court ordered a reassessment by the Parole Board. Following this, it was decided not to release Worboys. This reversal of the decision led to the resignation of Nick Hardwick (Parole Board Chair).
How lie detector tests for prisoners can help
Lie detector tests for prisoners considered for parole could include questions about other crimes for which they have not been convicted. The polygraph also provides important data as to the character of subjects. The Parole Board when reconsidering the decision re-examined Worboys’s attitude toward women and his beliefs regarding the crimes he had committed. The polygraph would have quickly identified risks.
We invite the Parole Board to contact us to find out how polygraph services can help their decisions. Whilst mistakes are not often made, when they are the consequences can be disastrous and dangerous.
The expense involved in the Worboys debacle could have easily been avoided.