Using the lie detector test to curb corruption in the Nigerian Police Force

Date02 July 2019
Publication Date02 July 2019
AuthorEhi Eric Esoimeme
SubjectFinancial risk/company failure,Financial crime
Using the lie detector test to
curb corruption in the
Nigerian Police Force
Ehi Eric Esoimeme
Department of Legal, DSC Publications Ltd, Lagos, Nigeria
Purpose This paper aims to critically examine the liedetector test policy of the Nigeria Police Force to
determineif the policy is capable of curbing corruption in the Nigerian Police Force.
Design/methodology/approach The analysis took the form of a desk study, which analyzed various
documents and reports suchas the report by the United Nations Ofce on Drugs and Crime and the National
Bureau of Statistics titled Corruptionin Nigeria Bribery: Public Experience and Response,Transparency
Internationals CorruptionPerceptions Index 2017, the report by the International Police Science Association
and the Institutefor Economics and Peace.
Findings This paper determined that the lie detectortest policy of the Nigeria Police Force could achieve
its desired objectives if the following recommendations are implemented: The Nigeria Police Reform Trust
Fund bill should be given acceleratedconsideration in the Senate and House of Representatives based on its
urgency and signicance for thenew lie detector test policy of the NigeriaPolice Force. There is need for the
Nigerian Police to have enoughfunds to conduct trainings for police personnel who are chosen as examiners
for the lie detector tests. The NigerianNational Assembly will need to pass an Act to provide for the licensing
of detection of deception examiners commonly known as polygraph or lie detector operators and
regulation ofthat profession. The act should set forth the conditionsunder which persons may be admitted to
practice detectionof deception with a polygraph, the standardsthey must observe and the types of polygraph
devices that theymay henceforth be used lawfully. This is what was donein the State of Illinois. The Nigeria
Police Force is advised to makeuse of two examiners for the lie detector test: one in-house examiner and one
external examiner. The externalexaminer may be from another country in which corruption is not at a high
rate, and must be someoneof high integrity and professional competence.This measure may reduce the risk
of bribery and corruption inthe system. It will also bring more integrity and transparencyinto the system.
The external examiner may also carry out on the job trainingwith the in-house examiner while the
polygraph exercise is going on. The Nigeria Police Force must make a new policy that mandates that all
transactions relating to the purchaseof polygraph machines must be conducted in an open and fair manner
that recognizes the need for the transactionto be done directly with the seller, and not through a sales agent.
This policy may help preventa situation where a corrupt sales agent connives with a corrupt policeofcer to
defraud the police unit. An ongoing approach to screening should be considered for specic positions, as
circumstances change,or for a comprehensive review of departmentalstaff over a period. The Nigeria Police
Force should have a policy that mandatesthat the lie detector test should be taken once in veyears by all
staff of theNigeria Police Force. For staff in very sensitivepositions, the lie detector test should betaken every
three years. This will enable the lie detector policy to be more effective. Let us take, for example, a person
passes the lie detector test genuinely without any inuenceof corruption; there is still a possibility that the
person may changeover time. The temptation to follow current employees to collect bribesis very high. But if
the Nigeria PoliceForce put a policy in place that mandatesevery police personnel to take the lie detectortest
every ve years starting from the rst ve yearsafter recruitment, the cankerworm called corruption may be
curbed effectively. Imagineif every police personnel knew that they were going to be asked by an examiner,
veyears after working, to conrm if they ever collected bribeduring the time they served in the police force;
most employees will desist from taking bribes or engaging in corrupt acts. The above measure willensure
that currentemployees who are chosen as examiners for the lie detector tests are t and proper personsfor the
Research limitations/implications This paper focuses on the new lie detector test policy of the
Nigeria PoliceForce. It does not address the other anti-corruptionpolicies of the Nigeria Police Force.
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.26 No. 3, 2019
pp. 874-880
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-06-2018-0058
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:

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