Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has clashed with Downing Street after rejecting the roll out of “Jeremy Kyle”-style lie detector tests for terrorists.
The plan to polygraph prisoners convicted of terror offences forms part of the UK Government’s Counter Terror and Sentencing Bill and was intended to apply across all jurisdictions of the UK.
But Mr Yousaf, in a social media tirade, suggested the only place for lie detector tests was on reality shows like Jeremy Kyle.
“This policy has rightly been ridiculed by most,” he said.
“We don’t use ‘Jeremy Kyle’ polygraph tests in our justice system in Scotland, never have. This measure won’t keep us safe,” he added.
The polygraph proposal came in response to the murder of two people near London Bridge last November by terrorist Usman Khan.
Last week @joannaccherry right to warn UK Govt not to politically interfere in Scot Courts, this week they want to introduce polygraph tests without consent of Scot Govt or Parliament – we have a separate independent legal system, Justice is devolved, UK Govt needs to step back.
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) September 3, 2020
In a long-awaited report into the failings that allowed Khan to kill while on parole, the UK’s independent reviewer of terror legislation, Jonathan Hall QC, said: “Polygraph testing is a sensible additional tool for obtaining information relevant to risk posed by Terrorist Offenders.”
“The results are likely to assist in determining whether the offender is complying with their licence conditions and can assist police to consider risk factors.”
Discussions between the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government on the use of polygraph testing in Scotland are ongoing.”
Prime Minister’s spokesman
Downing Street confirmed this afternoon that lie detectors would be introduced in England and Wales, while discussions in Scotland about their introduction are still “ongoing”.
“We will be introducing polygraph testing for terrorists who are released from prison in England and Wales, we’re already legislating to to deliver that,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.
“Discussions between the Ministry of Justice and the Scottish Government on the use of polygraph testing in Scotland are ongoing.”
Responding to Mr Yousaf’s claim that they’re nothing more than “Jeremy Kyle tests”, the spokesman added: “They will be a useful additional tool in the management of dangerous terrorist offenders.”
With justice being devolved to Holyrood, Westminster will need MSPs to pass a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) to get permission to introduce polygraphs.