Lie Detector Test in Russia
A survey was conducted among Russian polygraph examiners 2003 through 2016. There were three stages of the survey with the first stage conducted 2003 through 2004, second stage in 2012 and third stage 2015 through 2016. Results of all stages of the survey were compiled and analyzed and found its reflection in the following publication.
Overview of Polygraph Examinations Practice in Russia (Results of the Polygraph Examiners Survey conducted 2003 through 2016) By Yaroslava Komissarova and Said R. Khamzin1 Keywords: polygraph, lie detection, survey, polygraph in Russia General characteristics of respondents In the survey that was conducted in 2003-2004 243 polygraph examiners participated (hereinafter, the first stage), in the survey of 2012 167 polygraph examiners participated (hereinafter, the second stage) and 1. Komissarova Yaroslava Vladimirovna, PhD, docent, Associate Professor of the Criminalistics Department in the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL), Editor-in-chief of the Federal science-practice journal “Forensics analyst” (Moscow, Russia). Yaroslava Komissarova can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Khamzin Said Rushanovich is a private polygraph examiner, researcher and instructor (Moscow, Russia). Said Khamzin can be reached at email@example.com in the survey of 2015-2016 181 polygraph examiners participated (hereinafter — the third stage). Among the respondents were the officers of various agencies, government and non-government organizations and institutions as well as individual entrepreneurs (private examiners) of the Russian Federation. During the first stage among the participants of the survey 67.5% were male, 32.5% were female. During the second and the third stages female participants prevailed over males (on 12% and on 20% respectively). At all stages the predominant age of respondents was from 31 to 40 years old: in the first stage – 44.9%, in the second stage – 40.7%, in the third stage – 62.4%. As for work experience as a polygraph examiner, in the first stage respondents who reported their work experience in the range of up to two years, from two to five years and from five to 10 years, were roughly equal — about 30%. In the second stage the ratio changed: the number of survey participants with experience of 5-10 years was slightly higher (37.1% compared to 32.9% in the first stage), and with experience of 2-5 years — lower (25.7% compared to 34.6% in the first stage). In the third stage more than half of the respondents reported their work experience in the range of 5-10 years. The change of demographic indicators can be explained as follows: In 1997-2011, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation held regular conferences on exchange of best practices in the field of polygraph at the premises of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of the Krasnodar Region. In the first stage of the survey, the majority of the respondents were questioned in 2003 during the Sochi International Scientific-Practical Conference “Actual problems of special taken into account in the formulation of the survey questions and the analysis of the survey results.
Analytical report on the survey results In the opinion of the survey participants, polygraph use in criminal proceedings is mostly effective in: a) narrowing the circle of individuals suspected in committing of a crime or involvement in the incident (in the first stage this option was chosen by 38.7% of the respondents, in the second stage 52.1% in the third — 50.8% of respondents); b) obtaining additional information about the crime (25.9%, 43.7%, and 38.1%); c) defining the roles of the accessories to the crime (21.4%, 11.4%, and 12.2%); d) interrogation of individuals, pointing to circumstances of the crime, — False Reporting of a crime (4.5%, 14.4%, 19.3%); d) determination whether the particular person exaggerated or concealed information about the incident (3,7%, 12,6%, 9,2%). All of the options listed above, was psychophysiological examinations and prospects for their use in fight against crime and staff management”. Most of the respondents were male law enforcement officers. In 2012 during the second stage, a survey was held as a part of the Moscow Forum of Russian Polygraph Examiners “Actual problems of instrumental lie detection. Modern methods of diagnostics of lies” in which law enforcement officers were in the minority. The third stage of the survey was partially conducted in 2015, during Sochi International Scientific-Practical Conference. The conference was held under the auspices of the public organization — All-Russian Police Association IPA2 . Among the participants, as well as in the second stage, there were just a few of male law enforcement officers. It should be noted that the majority of polygraph examiners of Russia do not have a law degree and because of this fact they see no difference between operational-investigative activity and criminal proceedings. This fact was 2 International Police Association (IPA) is a nongovernmental organization in consultative status “Special” with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the Council of Europe and the Organization of American States, supportive working relationship noted by 5.8% of respondents in the first stage, 69.5% on the second and 68.5% — on the third stage.
In the first stage, while answering the question “In your opinion, what is the attitude of law enforcement officers towards the use of polygraph in criminal proceedings” opinions were divided in the following way: — 76.5% believe that polygraph is used in operational-investigative activities; — 23.9% believe that polygraph is used when it becomes necessary to use special knowledge (expertise) in the statutory manner; — 9.5% believe that polygraph is used in the form of psychophysiological examination; — 7% believe that it is one of the nonconventional methods of crime solving alongside with telepathy, water dowsing etc., used mainly informally; — 4.9% believe that the use of polygraph is related to the conduction of forensic psychological examination. In the second and third stages multiple options could be chosen when answering this question. It was not a surprise that many respondents fairly noted that currently law enforcement officers are aware that polygraph is used in the operational-investigative activities (50.3% in the second stage and 51.4% in the third stage), when it becomes necessary to use special knowledge (46.7% and 48.1%) and specifically in the form of psychophysiological examination (34.1% and 25,4%). Regarding the position of polygraph examiners on what is the most appropriate use of polygraph in investigation of criminal cases, only 8.2% of respondents in the first stage, 13.2% in the second and 8.3% — in the third stages called for restriction of its use to the limits of the operational-investigative activities. During the first two stages about a quarter of the survey participants mentioned the possibility of classification of a polygraph examiner report in the case file as a source of evidence document (29.6% and 22.8%). In the third stage there were only 7.7% proponents of this approach. During all stages of the survey, the majority of respondents, linking a polygraph examination with the use of special knowledge, agreed that the psychophysiological polygraph examination is an independent type of examination, apart from forensic psychological examination (36.2%, 38.3%, 31.5%, respectively). Only four out of 243 respondents supported the use of polygraph as a part of forensic psychological examination during the first stage, five out of 167 – during the second and six out of 181 – during the third stages of the survey. The represented data indicate that Russian polygraph examiners and law enforcement officers do not associate the use of polygraph with the conduction of forensic psychological examination. Apparently, this is due to a correlation dependence of the opinion of law enforcers from the fact how polygraph examiners themselves evaluate the terms of personal competence and professionalism.
In 2015-2016 in addition to the questions that were asked during the first two stages of the survey, polygraph examiners answered the following question “What determines the competence of a polygraph examiner” (you can choose several options): 1. The availability and the quality of training in the field of polygraph. The overwhelming majority of the examiners – 71.3%, chose this option. 2. Work experience as a polygraph examiner in government agencies and organizations and/or private sector – 19.3%. Among those who chose this answer, 12 respondents indicated that work experience in government agencies and/or organizations is preferable, and four noted the importance of diverse experience as a polygraph examiner. 3. The possession of a higher education. This answer was chosen by 10.5% of respondents. Two of them emphasized that “not any” higher education, but medical and/or psychological higher education, three of the respondents further noted the need for higher legal education and one for higher technical education. 4. Work experience as a polygraph examiner in government agencies and organizations and/or private sector was noted by 7.2% of the respondents. 5. The presence of positive feedback from the employer, customers, and fellow polygraph examiners was noted by 3.9% of the respondents. It is important to note that all of those who chose this answer, noted it only in addition to the options specified in paragraphs 2 and 3. Among the respondents only 15.5% believe that all the above listed is important. Five further pointed out the APA Magazine 2017, 50 (1) 56 importance of personal responsibility of a polygraph examiner for the quality of the conducted examination. In addition, 84.5% of the respondents surveyed in 2015-2016, mentioned the need for the development and subsequent approval by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Russian Federation of professional standards of activities of a polygraph examiner3 . Based on the foregoing, it becomes clear that among the factors impeding the effective use of polygraph in criminal proceedings, in the third stage of the survey, 57.4% of the respondents identified lack of qualified specialists in the field and some episodes of low-qualified work performed by polygraph examiners, which received great public attention. In the second stage, these factors were indicated by 42.6% of the respondents. In the first stage only 14.8% of the survey participants mentioned the lack of qualified professionals. 3 Information on the development of professional standards in Russia and the text of the draft standard “Specialist for conduction of psychophysiological examination using the polygraph”, see the website of NP “National Board of Polygraph Examiners” : URL: http://npnkp.ru/glavnaia/professionalnyi-standart-spetsialist-po-provedeniiu-psihofiziologicheskih-issledovanii-s-primeneniem-poligrafa (accessed date: 01.10.2017). During the first stage, 49.8% of polygraph examiners noted that law enforcement officers are not very well informed about the specifics of the polygraph examinations and their efficiency. During the second stage, it was indicated by 61.1% of the respondents and during the third stage – by 31% of the respondents. Although in the first stage 93 of respondents (38.3%) mentioned that there are some limitations in equipment and technical support of the law enforcement activities, in the second stage this was indicated only by 2 (1.2%) respondents and in the third stage by 6 (3.3%) respondents. The number of those who believe that an adverse opinion about the effectiveness of polygraph, which has prevailed in Russia for a long time, has played the negative role, was divided in the following way: about 10% in 2012 and 2015-2016, against 20.2% in 2003. The absence of direct provisions in the current legislation (special act, law) authorizing the use of polygraph in various spheres of public life was indicated by 47.7% of the respondents in the first stage, 17.4% the second, and 23.8% in the third stages. It must be said here that the idea of development and adoption of the Polygraph Act (Law), which seemed attractive to some Russian polygraph examiners in the late 90s — early 2000s, did not receive public support. In December of 2010, a group of State Duma (Russian parliament) members submitted the draft of the Federal Law “On Polygraph Use” to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of V convocation (responsibility for the bill was assigned to the Security Committee).
The work on the statutory wording of the draft was conducted over the preceding 10 years. In the spring of 2006 the text of the draft was officially studied in a number of agencies and received a negative evaluation. Over the years, except for a few technical amendments, the draft law has not changed. The law was not enacted and in February of 2012 The Board of the State Duma supported the proposal of the Committee for Security and Anti-Corruption to return the draft to authors of the legislative initiative4 . Use of technical means may not be the subject of legal regulation, because in modern conditions they update and improve and are replaced with completely new ones. In addition, the authors of the draft made a number of errors that led to the impossibility of its completion and adoption of the Polygraph Law.
The critical point is a mixture of two different procedures: a) examination conducted by a polygraph examiner within the limits of his/her competence, which is limited by the scope of his/her special knowledge (expertise) for the purpose of obtaining additional information relevant for management decision; b) procedure of the review (examination) and evaluation by the polygraph examiner of the information in the process of making this decision (according to the draft, a polygraph examiner in fact was imposed with a duty of evaluation of information received during the examination, despite the fact that he/she is not the subject to enforcement of law) (Komissarova, 2011).
In the course of the survey the affirmative answer to the question: “Do the law enforcement officers check your competence when assigning (authorizing) you to conduct the examination on a particular case”, was given by 37.9% of respondents (first stage), 42.6% (second), 57.4% (third). In their comments, those examiners, who answered affirmatively, explained that most often the initiators of examinations ask about their education and work experience as a polygraph examiner and ask them to show previously prepared reports. Interestingly, that the necessity to show the customer the examples of the reports that a specific examiner had prepared earlier based upon the results of another examinations, was first mentioned by the respondents only in 2015-2016. This is due to the fact that from 2009 polygraph examiners – regular employees of regional offices of forensic subdivisions of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (further — SK Russia) began conducting polygraph examinations and expert examinations (evaluations). According to the figures available to the authors, in 2009-2010 they had prepared over 2,500 specialist and expert reports, in 2014 — about 10,000 and in 2016 — more than 11000 (including 3138 of expert reports). Polygraph examiners of the Investigative Committee prepare reports based on the standard model developed by one of the authors of this article, Yaroslava Komissarova.
This model is included in the handouts, which for many years the author gives to the audience of her lectures, which include polygraph examiners, attorneys, investigators, students of the Higher Courses of Improvement of Qualification (Continuing Education) of Lawyers of the Russian Academy of Advocacy and Notaries (since 2005), Continuing Education Courses for Forensic Attorneys under the auspices of the Main Department of Criminalistics of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, and then Investigative Committee at the Office of Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation (2004-2010); the Institute of Continuing Education and then the Academy of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (since 2012).
Reports of the Investigative Committee polygraph examiners are widely used as averment (proof) in criminal cases during preliminary investigation; each year in conjunction with other evidence they form the basis of, on average, about 200 court verdicts. This contributed to strengthening of the attention from customers to document the results of the conducted examinations. When polygraph is used in the investigation of criminal cases, law enforcement officers are confronted with various kinds of difficulties. In the first stage, 34.6% of the respondents felt that the difficulties that polygraph examinations initiators are confronted with are mainly for reasons of organizational and procedural nature, or in the formulation of the questions submitted for the resolution by a polygraph examiner (30.9%), to a lesser extent, in clarifying the nature of the examination (16.9%) or the conclusions drawn from its results (11.5%). In the second and third stages, on the contrary, polygraph examiners noted that field examiners meet the most of the difficulties during questions formulation (38.9% and 39.2%), clarification of findings (34.7% and 30.9%) and nature of the examination (27,5% and 12.7%). Organizational and procedural difficulties were noted only by 26.3% and 13.8%, respectively. To some extent this is explained by the fact that there is no consensus among Russian polygraph examiners on how to formulate the findings of the examination. Unfortunately, experience of international colleagues in this case does little to clarify the situation. In appendix to a textbook Fundamentals of Polygraph Practice, published by the American publisher “Academic Press” in 2015, authored by a wellknown American polygraph examiner Donald J. Crapola co-authored with Past-President of the American Polygraph Association, Pamela K. Shaw, there are examples of polygraph examination reports (Krapohl & Shaw, 2015). Acknowledging the expertise of polygraph examiners in the United States, we are forced to admit that the approach to the formulation of test decision for diagnostic examinations that is normally reported using the terms Deception Indicated or No Deception Indicated is unacceptable in Russia. According to the Russian law, the persons bearing the burden of proof (detective, investigator, prosecutor, judge — officials who enforce the law), taking into account the information on the results of the examination provided by a polygraph examiner, independently make a decision on the reliability or unreliability of information contained in the testimonies of participants of criminal proceedings. Polygraph examiner report is not just being evaluated along with other evidence, it is, in fact, has no independent value and can only be used in conjunction with verifiable evidence (the testimonies of the trial participants). We believe that updating the images stored in the memory of the examinee (including through presentation of stimuli in a specific order chosen and systematized), studying (examining) the significance, stability, ratio of the reactions on test questions, etc., using different systems of evaluation of recorded data, polygraph examiner can identify a set of stimuli that are relevant to the subject. Depending on a type of stimuli and what type of APA Magazine 2017, 50 (1) 60 methodology was used during polygraph testing, polygraph examiner (including the volume and nature of the identified reactions) formulates a conclusion regarding the knowledge of the examinee about the incident. He is also entitled to express an opinion on the possible circumstances of how the examinee obtained an information about the event and the probability of obtaining it immediately at the time of the event. But he should not be ahead of the present level of development of science and should not determine what information is contained in the memory of an individual (Komissarova & Khamzin, 2016). The position, closest to the mentality of a Russian polygraph examiner is the approach, used for the formulation of test decision for screening examinations which is reflected in the US Department of Energy Counterintelligence Evaluation Regulations, effective since October 30, 2006. According to the Regulations, a polygraph examiner may draw his conclusions in a polygraph report about the presence of significant response when: …the analysis of the polygraph charts reveals consistent, significant, timely physiological responses to the relevant questions. or no opinion: …an evaluation of a polygraph test by a polygraph examiner in which the polygraph examiner cannot render an opinion. Importantly, the decision regarding maintenance or shift of powers of the examinee depending on the results of the examination is taken not by a polygraph examiner, but by the authorized officials (usually after additional evaluation activities) (Federal Register, 2006). 56.9% of Russian polygraph examiners, surveyed in 2015-2016, generally agree with the approach described above (the first and the second stage of the survey question “How do you formulate the findings of the examination” was not asked) .
Still, however, 16% of polygraph examiners put into their reports such conclusions as examinee is involved or not involved in the event (exactly as Russian polygraph examiners formulated their conclusions in the 1990s), and 9.4% 5 As it was shown during the survey, all of the examiners are familiar with the contents of the Counterintelligence Evaluation Regulations, first of all, thanks to the translation into Russian language made by Russian specialist in the field of “lie detection” A. B. Pelenitsyn. (See. in the book: Komissarova, Y. V., Myagkikh, N.And. Pelenitsyn, A. B. Polygraph in Russia and in the United States: Problems of Application. M.: Yurlitinform, 2012. Pp. 98-152). formulate it as reliable or unreliable (objectively or not) was the information about the incident stated by the examined person, and 11.6% — did the examinee commit or did not commit the certain actions (what did he/ she make, saw, heard, etc.).
Because law enforcement officers are experiencing difficulties in the formulation of the questions submitted for the resolution by a polygraph examiner, and the clarification of its findings, as it was explained by over 70% of respondents at all stages of the survey, they had to answer to the informal questions of the initiators of the examinations during and (or) after their conduction. This situation is not really the concern. It is more alarming that polygraph examiners are predominantly convinced that it is acceptable to have an informal communication with law enforcement officials while conducting research about the views and findings that are not reflected in their conclusion. This was reported by 90.1% of respondents in the first, 87.4% — in the second, and 91.8% in the third stage. But there were those who found this kind of communication unacceptable from the point of view that the independence of the polygraph examiner should be ensured. Unfortunately, no one thought about the rights of the examinee. It seems that a certain guarantee of protection of the rights and legitimate interests of the examinee (moreover, of all participants of the trial) is to keep a video recording of the procedure of a polygraph examination. Only in the presence of video recording the parties have a real opportunity to assess the adequacy (compliance) of actions of a particular polygraph examiner to the scientific-methodical standards formulated by the international practice. According to the Standards of Practice of the American Polygraph Association, an audio and video recording of all phases of the exam shall be maintained as part of the examination files, consistent with agency policy, regulation or law, for a minimum of one year (American Polygraph Association, 2015). Russian legislation does not have a requirement to conduct a video recording of a forensic examination, including those conducted in relation to a living person. It is impossible to understand how the test questions were discussed in the absence of a video camera.
The text of the report does not allow to assess the correctness of polygraph testing in the course of which questions should be asked in a flat and neutral voice, without intentional highlighting of certain words or questions; the intervals between the questions of the test shall not be less than 15 seconds from question onset to question onset, compared to 20 seconds interval between the questions, established by the Standards of Practice of the American Polygraph Association (American Polygraph Association, 2015); each test must be presented at least 2 times in order to avoid the appearance of situation-based reactions; etc. The video camera must be installed properly so that the face of the examinee and his psychophysiological reactions on the screen of the computer monitor was visible when viewing a video recording. Sounds must be well distinguished, because the video recording of the procedure is performed for the purpose of synchronization of the processes of reading of the test questions by a polygraph examiner, answers given by the examinee and the characteristics of the responses (Komissarova, 2008). We share the position of polygraph examiners who believe that a video recording needs to be maintained always (regardless of who initiated the examination) from the beginning to the end of the procedure, not only during the testing phase. This position was shared by 69.6% of respondents in 2015-2016 (in the previous stages of the survey questions about the value of video recording were not raised). However, 20.4% of the examiners still hold a view that “video recording sometimes (given the circumstances) can be conducted if the examiner consider it necessary”. When answering the question “Do you personally conduct a video recording of the examination”, 65.7% of the respondents reported that, with rare exception, they always do the recording. Eight of them stated that the requirement of their employer to maintain video recordings of the examinations is mandatory. Sometimes, when it deems necessary, video recording is conducted by 17.7% of respondents and only 9.9% indicated that they do not conduct video recording due to the insufficient technical capabilities.
According to polygraph examiners, who participated in the survey in 2015-2016, primarily maintenance of video recording is (in all situations or occasionally) necessary for the following reasons: a) the examiner was insured from charges of improper behavior in relation to the examined person (34.3%); b) the examiner could show the results to the customer and make corresponding comments (8.8%); 63 APA Magazine 2017, 50 (1) c) to protect the rights of the examinee (7.2%); d) in order to check the performance quality of a polygraph examiner (6.6%). 40.3% of the respondents believe the fact that all of the reasons mentioned above are equally important. Five of the survey participants indicated the feasibility of conducting the video recording from the viewpoint of obtaining additional information for the analysis, in particular, to identify examinee countermeasures. Based upon the results of the second and third stages of the survey (2012-2016), today the most accurate description of a polygraph examination characteristics is reflected in the term “psychophysiological polygraph examination”. It was mentioned by about 80% of the respondents.
The term “polygraph survey” which was well known in Russian domestic practice since the 90-ies of the last century was mentioned by 18% of the respondents. Option “forensic polygraph examination” in 2012 was chosen by one person out of 167, and in 2015-2016 — by two out of 181 participants of the survey.
Summary Today in Russia, as well as in many other countries, polygraph is actively used: a) in the implementation of operative-investigative activity in accordance with the requirements of the Russian legislation regulating this activity; b) in court proceedings in accordance with the requirements of procedural law of the Russian Federation; c) upon entry on a position in government agency and during the service in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation; d) in the regulation of labor and other directly related relations in accordance with the requirements of labor legislation and acts regulating certain spheres of the community activities; e) in the course of providing services under civil contracts. Regardless of the nature of the tasks and conditions of conduction, psychophysiological polygraph examination poses a procedure of the use of special knowledge from the fields of psychology, physiology and forensic science together, organized in a particular way. The result of numerous studies conducted at the interface of these disciplines, was the development of a new interdisciplinary field of knowledge of Polygraph (Komissarova, 2016). Today,
References American Polygraph Association (2016). Standards of Practice [Electronic version] Retrieved January 25, 2017, from http://www.polygraph.org. Federal Register. The Daily Journal of the United States Government (2006). Counterintelligence Evaluation Regulations. Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Department of Energy [Electronic version] Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://www.federalregister.gov Komissarova Ya.V., Khamzin S.R. (2016). Polygraph Abroad: Destination Russia. APA Magazine: The Magazine for the Polygraph Professional, 49 (1), 93—103. Komissarova Ya. V. (2011). Commentary on the draft of the Federal Law “On polygraph application”. Legal World, 5 (173), P. 60-61. Komissarova Ya. V. (2016). Basis of polygraphology: textbook for master’s degree students. Moscow: Prospekt. Komissarova Ya. V. (2008). Algorithm of actions of polygraph examiner in forensic psychophysiological examinations using polygraph. Current issues of special psychophysiological examinations and perspectives of their use in the fight against crime and recruitment: proceedings of the IX International scientific-practical conference. Krasnodar: KubSTU. P. 68. Krapohl D.J., Shaw P.K. (2015). Fundamentals of Polygraph Practice. San Diego, California: Academic Press, Imprint of Elsevier. within the framework of this field of knowledge, the scientific-methodical bases, technical, organizational and legal conditions of conducting psychophysiological polygraph examinations are considered for the purposes of diagnostics of informational state of the test subject while conducting judicial, investigative, labor, and service activities.