Bringing the truth out
Polygrapher Jaime Smith from SICS Polygraph explained to The Economist what a polygraph test is and what it entails, and she broke it down into simple terms to make it more understandable. She explains that it is an instrument used in an investigation to rule out truthful candidates in any further investigations, and it provides an opportunity for the individual to clear their name and be excluded from the investigation.
“It is a very scientific process and makes use of a scientific formula to determine the outcome. There are various types of tests, but the IZCT [test] that I use is 89% accurate if conducted properly,” she said, sketching some of the background about the way she operates. She asserted that the most important aspects of the polygraph test is the examiner who needs to be professionally qualified. “The better the examiner is qualified the more weight the polygraph test will hold in court” she said, adding “Yes it can be used in court, if the polygraph is relevant evidence.”
She indicated that the polygraph test is legal in Namibia, however many people in positions of authority are misinformed about its application and value. They do not know what it does and how it operates and they in turn then misinform other people, which sometimes causes tremendous stress and unnecessary conflict, especially in employee and employer relationships. Jaime emphasised that this can all be prevented should the people bother to gather proper information about something that they have absolutely no knowledge about.
“However in my experience, if the people are informed correctly about the polygraph test then the innocent people have no problem taking the polygraph tests, and about 80% of all people tested are truthful,” she stated.
She also assured that the polygraph is not harmful to the human body and that there is no pre-existing medical condition that prevents anyone from taking a polygraph test or that will influence polygraph test results.
“Most of my clients are corporate businesses in all the industries in Namibia. I have assisted the Namibian Police in some investigations and I also have some domestic matters that I deal with. I travel all over Namibia,”she continued.
“Doing this work is really great. There is nothing more satisfying than assisting people that are honest to clear their name and find out the people that are stealing from the employees who are honest and there to earn a living,” concluded Jaime.
After completing a B Sc degree in Physiology, Molecular Biology and Psychology at the University of Namibia, she did a course presented by a US-institution, the Academy of Scientific Investigative Training, in South Africa. Upon returning to Namibia, she started the company SICS Polygraph where she works as a Forensic Psychophysiologist.