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Labour slams government's plan to use lie detector tests to root out ‘sleeper’ terrorists

GOVERNMENT plans to use lie detector tests to identify “sleeper” terrorists is an “admission of failure” after 10 years in power, according to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

She said that cuts to policing, ineffective co-ordination between police and security services and a “flawed” anti-terror Prevent programme had “undermined” the fight against terrorism.

It comes as Justice Secretary Robert Buckland defended plans today to use lie detector tests to prove terrorists have reformed their characters and are not planning more attacks.

Pressed by Sky News on the accuracy of the tests being as low as 60 per cent, Mr Buckland said: “I’m not pretending [that] on their own, polygraphs, lie detectors, are the be all and end all.

“Which is why what we are also doing is doubling the number of specialised counter-terrorism probation officers […] improving training, getting more psychologists in there, specialist imams as well will be working with these people.”

Professor Aldert Vrij, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Portsmouth who has written extensively on the subject, has questioned the polygraph test’s credibility.

He told the BBC in 2018: “It does not measure deception, which is the core problem.”

Others have suggested that taking a stressful test could provide the wrong results by indicating an innocent person is lying.

The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice also announced that terrorists who receive extended determinate sentences would serve the whole time in prison.

Those convicted of serious offences such as preparing acts of terrorism or directing a terrorist organisation would spend a minimum of 14 years in jail under the plans.

The proposals were made in the wake of November’s London Bridge attack by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, who killed two people while attending a prisoner rehabilitation programme, halfway through a 16-year sentence.


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