Terrorists to take lie detectors tests in sentencing overhaul

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Terrorists could be made to take a lie detector test to prove they have been reformed and no longer pose a danger to the public, according to a “major overhaul” of terrorism sentencing.

The government has announced the plans to introduce “polygraph testing” along with a wave of other measures, including longer sentences, to crack down on the way terrorism offenders are punished and monitored.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said introducing the tests – which are already being used on some sex offenders – is a “sensible measure”.

He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I think they give greater certainty, I’m not going to pretend that they are the be all and end, all but they have been used in the context of serious sex offenders for about seven or eight years now and there have been some useful results from that.

“It’s clear that as part of a package, a process of assessment and constant interview and monitoring they can be of real assistance.”

The plans for reform were put in place in the wake of the latest London Bridge terror attack in which Usman Khan – a convicted terrorist released on license – stabbed two people to death and injured three others.

The Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill has been described as a “major shift” in the UK’s approach to the sentencing and management of terrorist offenders.

It also includes proposals for a minimum jail term of 14 years for serious offences such as preparing acts of terrorism or directing a terrorist organisation, scrapping early release for those classed as dangerous and having criminals spend longer on license after release.

The Ministry of Justice has also promised to double the number of counter terrorism probation officers and increase counter terrorism funding by £90 million year-on-year.

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