THE Government’s decision to roll out mandatory lie detector testing for sex offenders was last night welcomed by a North-East academic who carried out a decade of research on the issue.

Since the early 2000s, Professor Don Grubin, from Newcastle University, has been involved in research projects to test whether lie detectors – known as polygraphs – can be useful in the management of sex offenders.

Yesterday, Government ministers confirmed that polygraph testing is to be rolled out across England and Wales.

Prof Grubin started out with relatively small trials, involving sex offenders and probation officers in the North-East, as well as other parts of the country. The results his research have always supported the usefulness of polygraph tests.

Now, after running a much bigger pilot scheme in the East and West Midlands between April 2009 and October 2011, the evidence became so conclusive that the Government has decided to act.

It will mean that dangerous sex offenders face being forced to take lie detector tests on their release from jail.

Paedophiles and rapists will be made to answer a series of questions about their intentions while hooked up to a polygraph machine.

The results could see the terms of their release restricted or, in the most serious cases, land them back in prison.

In the Midlands pilot scheme, independent evaluators found that offenders on lie detectors made twice as many admissions about contacting victims or entering an exclusion zone than without.

Offenders also reported that the tests helped them to better manage their own behaviour.

Last night, US-born Prof Grubin, who is also a consultant forensic psychiatrist with the Northumberland , Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I came into this with an open mind, but the results have always been very clear. Some people are more reactive than others, but the polygraph pretty much works with everyone.”

There are about 3,000 sex offenders being managed on licence in the community at any one time, with more than 750 considered to be the most serious – the category affected by the proposals.

A Downing Street source said: “We are looking at how it could be rolled out to provide probation officers with more information to manage the most serious sex offenders.”