Lie-Test Plan For Sex Offenders

The Home Office is to start a period of consultation on plans for compulsory lie detector tests for sex offenders. The scheme is designed to help monitor their behaviour in the community. A pilot scheme with hundreds of convicted offenders has been judged a success. The majority disclosed information that helped probation staff supervise them more effectively.

Ministers are also considering giving the public more information about bail hostels used to house the offenders. About 350 convicted sex offenders in England volunteered to take part in the pilot scheme.

Sex offenders on parole or probation were asked about their offending history and current behaviour.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw says it emerged that some were using the internet to access indecent images of children.

About 90% of probation staff said the lie detectors helped them monitor sex offenders and assess their progress on treatment programmes.

The Home Office now intends to extend the scheme to see if it works on sex offenders who have not chosen to take lie detector tests.

As part of a policy review, the government is also exploring how to give the public more information about sex offenders in their area and let them know if approved premises or bail hostels are being used to house them.