Rooting out “career criminals” is taking on a whole new meaning, as more and more businesses resort to polygraph testing to get to the bottom of workplace crime, as well as to identify would-be trouble makers before they are even hired. 
Willem Marshall, a polygraphist with leading national private investigation agency, Justicia Investigations, warns that far too many employers are naïve enough to believe that theft, fraud and corruption will never surface in their companies.
“People need to realise that there is more and more organised crime out there and that they are being targeted.
“Syndicates often infiltrate organisations by either arranging a syndicate member to be employed there, or more often, buying over a current employee who might have a clean track record up to that point.
“Intelligence is everything and criminals share information. Our experience shows that a high percentage of company crime is perpetrated by employees or in collusion with employees.”
According to the South African Police Services (SAPS), commercial crime in South Africa has increased by 42,7% since 2007. Statistics South Africa notes that ordinary employees are involved in 75% of fraud and corruption in local companies.
During his 14 years in the South African Police, Marshall says that he came to realise that polygraphing was both the most misunderstood and the most useful tool that business owners could use when it comes to getting to the root of problems.
This is underscored by colleague and fellow polygraphist, Frans van Biljon, whose 12 year career with SAPS as a captain in the forensics field saw him trained by the SA Criminal Bureau. Both were also trained by the American International Institute of Polygraphs and completed their training programme for psychophysiological detection of deception.
Van Biljon says that polygraph tests don’t just uncover major crimes; they often pick up on drinking and drug related problems too.