Lie-detector tests for terrorists? New UK govt plan sparks backlash online

New legislation that would see terrorists taking lie-detector tests has sparked anger and disbelief online, with many pointing out that the technology is far from foolproof and accusing the government of being soft on crime.

The proposed polygraph testing is part of a slew of new measures drawn up by PM Boris Johnson’s government in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack last November which left two people dead.

Yet, the idea of ‘toughening up’ Britain’s counter-terror laws by polygraphing convicted terrorists to prove they no longer pose a threat to society after their release isn’t sitting well with many in Britain.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, never shy of airing his views on controversial matters, seemed to be unimpressed with the idea, tweeting: “What? Is this a joke?” 

Others sarcastically suggested that terrorists should be made to write out lines like naughty school children: “I promise not to be bad again.” Some said the plan might also boost the career of TV presenter Jeremy Kyle, known for offering polygraphs to guests on his tabloid talk show.

UK police have used lie-detector testing on sex offenders since 2007 — and while the results of the tests are not admissible in court, they can be used to bring new investigations.

It’s not the first time the British government has faced public backlash for its odd crime-fighting methods. The government was ridiculed last year after putting anti-stabbing messages on boxes of fried chicken in several takeaway restaurant chains across the country. The chicken-box warnings were intended to teach young fried chicken fans about the “tragic consequences of carrying a knife.”

The latest anti-terror measures also envision a 14-year jail sentence for people convicted of planning acts of terrorism and would see early-release scrapped for those considered dangerous.

The new measures are intended to prevent a repeat of the London Bridge attack perpetrated by Usman Khan, who was out of prison on licence and had travelled to London to supposedly attend a “rehabilitation event” when he went on his killing spree.