Japanese police turn to polygraph to weed out sexually deviant applicants

AFP-JIJI

Police may introduce lie detector tests as part of their recruitment process to try to weed out possible sexual predators and other potential criminals, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The National Police Agency plans to polygraph only those who consent to take the tests to avoid being accused of invading anyone’s privacy, the Asahi Shimbun said.

Recruiters plan to analyze reactions from candidates after they are asked for their thoughts on pedophilia or molestation, for example, the daily reported.

Polygraphs measure and record physiological reactions, such as heart rate or breathing, while the subject is asked questions. Advocates say the act of telling lies causes bodily responses that cannot easily be controlled.

The move has been mooted because people who apparently lacked the skills or mindset required of policemen were repeatedly involved in scandals, a senior police official was quoted by the Asahi as saying.

Competition to join the force is stiff, with only 14,700 out of nearly 126,000 candidates passing exams in the year to last March to become officers recruited at the local level.

At the same time, disciplinary action taken against officers surged from 242 cases in 2009 to more than 400 in 2012, the newspaper said.

Among them is a policeman who was dismissed for attempted rape last January. He is now suspected of having had sex with minors all through his adult life.

Following initial examinations, all successful applicants must graduate from a police academy before serving in the 293,000-strong force in low-crime Japan.

Immediate police confirmation of the news report was not available.