Project Description

Polygraph

Provided by a Highly Experienced International Forensic Psychophysiologist

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Proving Innocence & Detecting Deception

Research Associates offers polygraph services throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide. We are members of the British and European Polygraph Association (BEPA) and specialise in providing highly confidential polygraph testing for private individuals, the corporate and business sectors, and government departments. We do not offer a single test solution and prefer to use the governmental approach of multiple testing with associated low-key interrogation techniques.

What is a Polygraph?

A polygraph (popularly referred to as a “lie detector”) is an instrument that measures and records several physiological responses: blood pressure, pulse, respiration, breathing rhythms, body temperature and skin conductivity (sweat gland activity) while the subject is asked and answers a series of predetermined questions; false answers will produce distinctive measurements. During questioning, the polygraph measures physiological changes caused by the sympathetic (unconscious) nervous system. In the UK, the polygraph is typically utilised for issues including cheating partners, theft, sexual abuse and confirmation of innocence. It is now regularly used by government departments in the UK and overseas, as well as numerous international companies in the area of integrity and lifestyle checks.

Research Associates’ polygraph examiners are highly experienced and discreet and treat examinations/tests with great sensitivity.

Polygraphs are, in some countries, used as a tool for the interrogation of criminal suspects or candidates for sensitive public or private sector employment. The UK government has now initiated polygraph examinations in its most sensitive areas of investigation and is conducting clinical trials into the ongoing use of polygraphy. The use and effectiveness of the polygraph have historically been controversial, with its validity subject to criticism. Critics previously argued that even taking into account high estimates of the polygraph’s accuracy (up to 98% accurate), a significant number of subjects may appear to be lying and would therefore unfairly suffer the consequences of “failing” a polygraph test. However, Research Associates’ examiners use multiple testing techniques and only the latest computerised instruments to accurately evaluate results. Furthermore, they are fully conversant with the most up-to-date methods and techniques, which help secure reliable, successful results, ensuring precision in examination reports.

Research Associates’ expertise is of a standard whereby all examiners have also undertaken specialist polygraph training for Post-Conviction Sex Offender Testing (PCSOT) on behalf of the British/UK government.

In a UK court case (lawsuit), an involved party may order a psychologist to write an opinion based on polygraph results to substantiate the credibility of its claims. However, the party must bear the expense themselves, and the court weighs the opinion like any other opinion the party has ordered. In most cases, polygraph tests are undertaken voluntarily by a defendant to substantiate claims and therefore provide documentary evidence.

Research Associates undertakes tests worldwide. We do not offer flat fees. Fees are based on specific case duration, travel time and costs, including travelling to remote areas or high-risk overseas locations.

Fully Qualified Examiners

There are very few fully certified and accredited polygraph examiners currently operating within the UK. Yet, it is universally agreed that a skilled operative is the essence of any reliable polygraph test. Research Associates has access to all certified UK polygraph examiners but only employs examiners with internationally recognised accreditation in the use of a polygraph. One of Research Associates’ principal partners is an accredited forensic psychophysiologist and was the first-ever polygraph examiner to qualify in the first private polygraph academy in the UK, the British Polygraph Academy (BPA). The BPA is approved and accredited by the American Polygraph Association (APA) and the British Accreditation Council (BAC). Paul Hawkes, our principal, is also a full member of the British and European Polygraph Association (BEPA) and a founding member of the British Polygraph Network (BPN), ensuring the highest possible polygraph testing standards. He has also worked at the governmental level using the polygraph.

Membership of the British and European Polygraph Association is strictly regulated and controlled, ensuring that the examiner’s skills and expertise are recognised internationally. This also guarantees that your examiner is both fully qualified and that they are constantly updating their skills to incorporate the most advanced techniques, as well as assuring a client’s total confidence in our accredited testing process.

It is worth noting that the British government now employs polygraph testing. Since polygraph examinations became computerised, the results have become more consistent and measurable regarding standards, procedures, and techniques. Therefore, results have become increasingly scientifically accurate (and the subject of significant meta-analysis).

Also of interest is that the British government has been conducting clinical trials into polygraph examinations and is currently running proactive programmes using polygraph examinations in highly sensitive areas of regional and national government (including counter-terrorism programmes and paedophile re-offender units); demonstrating that the UK government now recognises that polygraph testing delivers exceptionally high rates of accuracy.

International Capability

Research Associates is realistically able to provide polygraph services in all parts of the world. Examiners have been deployed globally, including in areas of political turmoil or war zones. Language is never a hindrance as we have examiners proficient in working through interpreters, who need to be independently schooled over three hours to ensure rigorous examination results. Our international polygraph examiners include the most experienced worldwide experts and cannot be bettered. We invite you to speak with Research Associates’ principal, Paul Hawkes, to discuss your matter in full.

Private Clients

Research Associates specialises in using the polygraph to verify truth or deception within personal and family matters. The need for sensitivity is paramount when addressing personal issues that affect intimate relationships. Examiners will always demonstrate sensitivity to these nuanced requirements and offer friendly, unbiased solutions to the presenting problems.

Dealing with family, relationships, or other personal matters that are not finding a resolution is typically very disturbing and upsetting. Where any issue of doubt becomes a significant concern, Research Associates will help bring peace of mind.

Our examiners are sensitive to these needs and offer a friendly, unbiased resolution to problems. Polygraph/Lie Detection Tests are typically conducted on the client’s property, at our London premises, or at a convenient location for the client.

Research Associates also offers a range of associated investigative services to assist with profoundly private and personal matters:

  • Truth verification
  • False accusation
  • Family disputes
  • Drug use verification
  • Domestic abuse
  • Infidelity testing
  • Domestic staff screening

Our examiners only employ the latest interview and analysis techniques and equipment to ensure the highest rates of accuracy.

Corporate and Public Sector Clients

Research Associates undertakes vital examinations for companies, corporations and government departments considering individuals for employment or promotion as well as for other reasons such as development, career planning, and fitness for duty. We also undertake more sensitive matters such as internal theft and fraud.

Some entities only consider taking action to protect themselves against fraud and theft after discovering a specific crime. Research Associates aims to support clients to prevent loss by taking proactive steps at the stage of suspicion, actively preventing security breaches or other potential loss, typically working at the executive/board level and with human resources departments or independent security professionals.

Research Associates provides appropriate on-site polygraph testing in West London, assists with the administrative process, and offers other investigative tools, whether working within the UK or internationally – with or without interpreters. Furthermore, we are fully conversant with associated legislative issues and provide corporate clients with an enhanced service reflecting the more complex legal needs of corporate matters. Additionally, we include provision within our reports for an impact assessment, which shows the examination has been conducted fairly and legally.

Research Associates’ enhanced service also guarantees that polygraph testing is carried out by a member of the British and European Polygraph Association (BEPA) or the American Polygraph Association (APA). We also use elite examiners trained in ‘Practical Kinesics Interview and Interrogation’ techniques (please see below) and PEACE model interview techniques. Using Research Associates’ enhanced polygraph service ensures that crucial corporate matters are dealt with at the highest level, providing a proficiency that translates well with the legal aspects of the presenting situation.

Research Associates is retained by numerous corporate clients requiring high-level in-house security support and seeking to verify integrity or material facts.

As well as employment screening and fraud, Research Associates also offers a range of polygraph services to assist with employee matters:

  • Employee drug screening
  • Employment discrimination
  • In-house security support
  • Competitive intelligence/IP breaches
  • Insurance fraud claims
  • Internal issues
  • Loss prevention
  • Money laundering
  • Pre-employment screening

Our examiners routinely employ the latest interview and analysis techniques and equipment to ensure the highest accuracy rates. In addition, all our polygraph examiners are routinely assessed and receive ongoing training.

Some of our international examiners undertake specialised interpreter assisted polygraph tests, which require highly knowledgeable and even more subtle techniques.

Polygraph Test

Each test lasts typically about 2-3 hours and comprises four or more parts:

Part 1: Our examiners spend between approximately one and two hours discussing the issue with the person to be examined. The test procedure is explained, and the questions to be asked are agreed upon in advance.

Part 2: This is the polygraph testing section, where the examinee is attached to several measurement instruments. The polygraph examiner typically runs three tests, with a short break between each test.

Part 3: The test sheets are evaluated, and the results are reported after a post-test interview.

Part 4: Once the initial testing is complete and the results analysed, the examinee is re-interviewed, and initial results are discussed. Where appropriate, subtle interrogation techniques and other testing processes (as above) may be employed.

In most cases, we can provide the results of the test soon after it is completed but rarely, if ever, immediately. One of the main benefits of using Research Associates’ polygraph service is confidence in the results of examinations. All our work is checked and quality controlled by highly skilled and qualified examiners within Research Associates’ network.

When you wish to discuss your particular situation with any of our examiners, Research Associates offers consultation and will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding the polygraph test.

Your Choice

As a valued client of Research Associates, you may also be given a choice of who conducts your test, as we use both male and female polygraph examiners. Professional polygraph examinations are used as investigative tools to help establish dishonesty or innocence and determine and identify those involved in the presenting matter. Polygraph testing is best administered in a low-profile, friendly and non-contentious interview process which is a subtle form of interrogation. As with any other investigation, discretion and professionalism are guaranteed, allowing clients to rely on us for a qualified result.

Research Associates aims to assist you in making an informed decision about the viability of the polygraph testing process for your specific matter. When you undertake a polygraph test with one of our examiners, you will receive the highest possible professional service.

Note: We are legally unable to conduct polygraph testing on the following categories of individual:

  1. Any person under the age of 14 years.
  2. Any person with a known history of mental or significant psychological illness.
  3. Any woman known to be pregnant at the time of testing.
  4. Any person under threat of violence.

Booking Terms & Conditions

A non-refundable payment in full is required to book a polygraph examination. Should an examinee confess to any of the agreed test questions before testing or during the pre-test interview (or at any other juncture), the polygraph examination will not proceed. Any pre-booked examination(s) will be charged in full (with no refund applicable). As all polygraph examiners need to pre-book their diaries, we require a clear 48 hours notice should a test need to be rescheduled or cancelled for any reason. Payment is usually processed via credit or debit card (as we no longer take payment by cheque for this service).

Caution to Any Person Being Tested:

No alcohol should be taken 24 hours before the day of testing. No illegal drugs should be taken 24 hours before the day of testing. Where possible, a good night’s sleep should be enjoyed the night before testing. Be open with the polygraph examiner about any health conditions and medications that you are prescribed and taking regularly. Allow yourself to be nervous – this will NOT affect the examination results. Speak truthfully with the examinator and take your time. Do not attempt to manipulate the test, as this will inevitably lead to you failing the examination. Remember that polygraph testing is routinely used at the government level as it produces reliable results.

BEPA – Our Code of Ethics

Rights of Examinees:

Examiners shall respect the rights and dignity of all persons to whom they administer polygraph examinations.

Standards for Rendering Polygraph Decisions:

Examiners shall not render a conclusive diagnosis when the physiological records lack sufficient quality and clarity. This may include, but is not limited to, excessively distorted recordings possibly due to manipulations by the examinee, recordings with insufficient responsivity, or recordings with tracing amplitudes less than that generally accepted by the profession.

Post-Examination Notification of Results:

Examiners shall afford each examinee a reasonable opportunity to explain physiological reactions to relevant questions during the recordings.

Restrictions on Rendering Opinions:

Examiners shall not provide any report or opinion regarding the medical or psychological condition of the examinee for which the member is not professionally qualified to make. This shall not preclude the examiner from describing the appearance or behaviour of the examinee. Polygraph outcome decisions shall be restricted to only those based on polygraph data.

Restrictions on Examinations:

Examiners shall not conduct a polygraph examination when there is reason to believe the examination is intended to circumvent or defy the law.

Fees:

Examiners shall not solicit or accept fees, gratuities, or gifts that are intended to influence his or her opinion, decision, or report. No member shall set any fee for polygraph services which is contingent upon the findings or results of such services, nor shall any member change his or her fee as a direct result of his or her opinion or decision subsequent to a polygraph examination.

Standards of Reporting:

Examiners shall not knowingly submit, or permit employees to submit, a misleading or false polygraph examination report. Each polygraph report shall be a factual, impartial, and objective account of information developed during the examination, and the examiner’s professional conclusion based on analysis of the polygraph data.

Advertisements:

Examiners shall not knowingly make, publish, or cause to be published any false or misleading statements or advertisements relating to the BEPA or the polygraph profession. Examiners shall make any false representation as to category of membership in the BEPA. All advertisements making reference to membership in the Association shall also list the category of membership.

Release of Non-relevant Information:

Examiners shall not disclose to any person any irrelevant personal information gained during the course of a polygraph examination which has no connection to the relevant issue, and which may embarrass or tend to embarrass the examinee, except where such disclosure is required by law.

Restrictions on Examination Issues:

Examiners shall not include in any polygraph examination, questions intended to inquire into or develop information on activities, affiliation, or beliefs on religion, politics, or race except where there is relevancy to a specific investigation.

What next?

Since every investigation is unique and because of the delicate nature of all we do, before commencement of any assignment we suggest you call and speak with us. By talking through the outline of your current circumstance in confidence and asking just a few non-intrusive questions, we become fully able to comprehend your specific requirement. This will also enable you to get to know how we work and for us to give a clear plan of action, costs, turnaround time and to decide whether you wish to instruct us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Polygraph testing is very accurate, but is not infallible. According to the American Polygraph Association, over 250 studies into the accuracy of polygraph testing have been conducted over the past twenty-five years. In the past, it has been estimated that the accuracy of the results is in the range of 90-95%. More recently research indicates the accuracy of computerised polygraph testing as now being 98%.

Yes. A polygraph instrument is a set of scientific, diagnostic apparatus, often called a ‘lie detector’. It is more accurate to refer to a polygraph instrument as a “truth verifier”.

It is normal for an innocent person to feel nervous taking a polygraph test and the polygraph examiner is always aware of this. Nervous reactions, recorded on polygraphic charts, are not interpreted by the polygrapher as any manifestation of deception. Nervous reactions differ from reactions recorded when a person is lying deliberately.

Yes. You will be informed of the exact wording of each question that will be asked during the course of your polygraph examination. There are no ‘trick questions’.

Most polygraph examination last between two and three hours. Some will last longer or shorter depending on the nature of the investigation.

The examiner typically gives a detailed explanation of the polygraph procedure and explains how the polygraph works. The examiner will also answer any questions that the examinee may have. Subsequent to the test, the examiner will then talk-through and inform the examinee of the results of the polygraph examination.

Our expert examiners are able to carry out polygraph tests in any language, using appropriate linguistic experts.

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