JIS News

Persons holding top level positions within the public sector could soon to be asked to undergo polygraph examinations commonly known as lie detector tests.

“As a matter of policy, this Government has decided that all sensitive post within the public sector should be subject to vetting to ensure the integrity of those who hold the posts,” said Minister of National Security, Senator Hon. Dwight Nelson.

He was speaking on Wednesday January 26 at the official opening of the newly established polygraph unit at the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Police Academy in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine.

Already, senior personnel within the force are routinely polygraphed to ensure their suitability for leadership positions, but Senator Nelson said that this level of assessment must be extended to other areas of the public service.

“So it is not only for recruitment, it is not only for promotion but I think we have to ultimately get to the stage where as a country, we have absolute confidence in the integrity of our public sector employees,” he stated.

A polygraph is a machine that collects and records physiological data such as blood pressure, pulse, respiratory, sweat gland and cardiovascular activities, while the subject responds to a series of questions, to determine the truthfulness of the answers given.

Mr. Nelson said that polygraph interviews are an important part of security clearance procedures in many branches of governments all over the world, which make them very important to the maintenance of national security.

In his remarks, Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington said that the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in polygraph examination is being explored “so that we can provide assistance to our regional forces.”

“It is being recognised all around that law enforcement has to be of the highest professional standard, especially now that we are moving into the age of international policing,” he said.

“It is not going to be business as usual; foreign forces are not going to expose their procedures, their staff and their intelligence and information to institutions in which they have doubts about its integrity,” the Commissioner added.