The number of suspicious spouses booking lie detector tests for their partners through a new high street service has soared since the leaking of the Ashley Madison database.
Salford-based testing firm BioClinics and the British Polygraph Network, whose joint venture makes lie detector tests available in more than 100 locations across the UK, has seen a 36 per cent increase in inquiries concerning infidelity since customer data from the website which helps people arrange extra-marital affairs was made public last month.
Nichola McChrystal, founder and scientific director at BioClinics, said: “Since we launched the service in June we have taken many bookings, instigated for a wide variety of reasons.
“However, the data for August shows that inquiries relating to infidelity rose dramatically by 36 per cent compared with the figures for July.
“The Ashley Madison case is most likely cause, as it has brought infidelity into sharper focus.”
The tests are conducted by fully-qualified members of the British and European Polygraph Association and the American Polygraph Association. They take between two and three hours to complete, and cost £650.
Suspicions of infidelity have triggered the most bookings.
Nichola, whose company also offers accredited DNA, drug and alcohol testing services at its clinics, said: “Many people have come to our clinics because marriage guidance counselling has done little to reduce the disruption and upset caused by suspicions of infidelity.
“Some have terminated their relationships following admissions of guilt, while others have said they have continued with counselling and have reported that, now the truth is out in the open, the sessions are proving much more effective.
“In over 95 per cent of cases where the examination indicated deception, the individual has gone on to admit their guilt.
“In many cases, however, the examination showed innocence, and we have had extremely positive feedback about how this has allowed couples to move on and put their suspicions behind them.”
The tests are also being taken to help individuals concerned about a range of other matters, including allegations of theft of jewellery and other valuables, drug-taking and domestic abuse.
In addition, companies are arranging tests in relation to alleged thefts from the workplace, to screen potential employees for links to drugs and alcohol, and to flush out candidates suspected of making false claims about their background and experience to secure a job.
Don Cargill, co-founder and director of the British Polygraph Network, which provides the examiners, said: “This is the first time that polygraph testing has been available on the high street.
“The interviews are conducted in a low-profile, friendly and non-accusatory manner to verify the truth and remove doubts, often in matters which could not previously be resolved.
“A polygraph is a finely-tuned device which records various aspects of the body’s nervous system and picks up changes when a person makes a false statement.
“It measures physiological data from breathing, heart rate and sweat glands.
“The body makes involuntary responses when a person is untruthful, and the polygraph instrument will detect these when certain questions are being asked and they respond with a lie.”
“It’s an investigative tool which can detect dishonesty and verify innocence.”
Nichola said: “Polygraph, or lie detector, testing is a science which until now has not been particularly accessible to the public.
“Polygraphs have been shown to be 98 per cent accurate when conducted by properly-trained examiners using the latest equipment.
“We have worked very closely with the British and European Polygraph Association and the British Polygraph Network to produce a nationwide service in which our public and corporate clients can have absolute confidence.
“Each examination is carried out in accordance with very strict protocols, by highly-trained professionals.
“The charts and report produced for every examination then go through a quality assessment by a director of the BEPA – a level of quality assurance never offered in the industry before.
“At BioClinics, we offer DNA and drug-testing services which can answer a lot of questions for the people with whom we work, but they can only go so far.
“Polygraph testing is an evidential tool, the results of which should be used in conjunction with other evidence gathered.
“I feel our polygraph service will help a lot of people to get the answers they need.”