Veros Polygraph Services
Unearthing the truth with Veros
Veros Truth Verification Centre is a polygraph and private investigations business in Newcastle, rendering professional polygraph, investigation and vetting services to more than 300 clients locally and abroad.
Our polygraph examiner is internationally trained and accredited through the Academy for Scientific Investigative Training in Philadelphia, under the directorship of Nathan Gordon.
We make use of proven, recognised techniques, using only the very best computerized equipment (Lafayette LX5000) currently available on the international market, ensuring only the highest quality of service to our clients. Our examiner is fully accredited with the American Polygraph Association (APA), Southern African Polygraph Federation (SAPFED) and the International Society of Polygraph Examiners (ISOPE).
What does it take to be successful in this career?
To be successful as a Forensic Psycho–physiologist, you need to prioritise and plan your time weeks in advance. You need to be focused, and constantly broaden your skills and knowledge of the field.
"More importantly, you need to have integrity. You need to practice the principal of integrity to choose your thoughts and actions based on values, rather than personal gain," said Pieter de Meyer.
What do you have to study, both at secondary and tertiary level, to qualify for this career?
The American Polygraph Association accredits polygraph training programmes. Most accredited training programmes take up to 18 months to complete, including an internship, field experience or independent study requirements. Some schools may require applicants to have an associate or bachelor's degree in a related field, or to have related work experience. Others may require a degree, and at least 10 years of experience in criminal investigation.
The academic portion of the programme usually lasts ten weeks, and typically requires full-time weekday attendance. Programmes cover test question formulation, ethics and legal issues related to polygraph examinations. Students learn appropriate interview techniques, and how to use polygraph technology and equipment to monitor the cardiovascular, galvanic skin and breathing responses from the examinee. They also learn how to accurately interpret exam results, and must conduct 250 verified exams before they can be certified by the APA.
Polygraph examiners must stay up to date with current practices and changes in the profession. Professional associations may also require their members take regular courses in order to maintain professional certification and good standing within the organisation.
Graduates of approved polygraph schools may apply for membership to the APA. Specialised exams for those focusing on a particular aspect of polygraph examination are also available. Individuals can, for example, become Certified Forensic Polygraph Examiners or specialise in post-conviction sex offender testing, and domestic violence perpetrator testing in the United States. In South Africa, you deal mostly with criminal investigation tests and pre-employment tests, as more businesses are requiring polygraph testing on individuals before employing them.
What kind of person do you think is best suited to this type of career?
Polygraph examiners are highly analytical people, with excellent interpersonal communications skills. They combine knowledge of psychology and physiology to evaluate individuals for deceptive tendencies. The work can be fascinating and intellectually stimulating.
"If this sounds like the kind of work you're interested in performing, then a career as a polygraph examiner may be the perfect criminology career for you," explained Mr de Meyer.
What is the most rewarding part of your job and/or career?
The most rewarding part is helping someone clear their name after they have been falsely accused, or when a subject finally confesses to their involvement in a crime or incident. A good examiner is measured by the amount of confessions he secures, rather than the amount of tests conducted on a daily basis.
What is most challenging about what you do?
It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to get inside the subject's head. I remove myself from the situation when the subject becomes emotional after admitting to their involvement in a crime.
Amid challenging financial times, you can just imagine what some people must go through to get to the stage where the only option is to steal from their employer to feed their families. Upon failing the test, 85 per cent of deceptive subjects stated they stole money to feed their children. It is very hard not to cry when mothers say they have no other option, but to steal.
What are the things you look for when hiring aspirant employees in your field?
I never thought of hiring someone to do polygraph tests, as this is a very specialised field and examiners are not so keen to work in the smaller towns. 95 per cent of the accredited examiners work in bigger cities like Durban, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town. To train someone will cost about R250 000, as all courses and equipment are paid in US dollars.
"If I decide to hire someone, I will make sure the person is trustworthy and has ethical values and integrity- and, of course, they would have to pass a polygraph test administrated by myself!" he exclaimed.
What does your average working day consist of?
"As I am based in Newcastle, I do a lot of travelling in and around KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Free State, Mpumalanga, and as far as Gauteng," he added. "Owing to the time I spend on the road, my day starts as early as 4.30am in the morning, and ends after 8pm."
The APA controls the profession, and, therefore, examiners are only allowed to conduct five polygraph tests a day."A test can take between an hour and half to four hours to complete. It all depends on the situation and type of test."
Various types of tests require different techniques, as every situation is not the same.
"Some days, I do criminal investigation tests, pre-employment tests and periodic tests with different clients in different towns. If a client books more than five tests, I usually stay at a bed and breakfast before travelling back home. After a long day of tests, I am mentally drained and need a good night's rest."
In order to have the client's report ready within 24 hours of the test, the examiner must often work long hours, even after a full day's work.
"Some weeks are so hectic, and then I have to work on weekends as well," said Mr de Meyer.
If you are your own boss, you tend to be harder on yourself.
"There are days where I don’t have any tests booked. On those days, I will conducted private criminal investigations or vettings, as I do verification on qualifications for municipalities and other businesses. I am also trained and linked to do criminal records verification via the SAPS-AFIS system. These results are available within 48 hours of the application, and one does not have to go the police station, as I go to the client and take the fingerprints on a scanner (no ink) at their premises or house."
What advice can you give to students who are interested in your field of study?
Forensic Psychophysiology is not for the fainthearted "You hear things you never thought could possibly happen. If they want to become an examiner, they must have a genuine interest in the truth, a scientific understanding of how a polygraph instrument and processes work, and be without preconceived notions about people, as looks are deceiving and demeanour is deceptive."
What are the benefits of running a business in a growing economy such as Newcastle?
Polygraph tests were not always affordable and accessible in Newcastle, and the greater Northern KZN, as businesses have to use qualified examiners from out of town to do the tests.
Travelling often cost more than the test itself, forcing businesses to resort to alternative methods of uncovering the truth.
"As I am locally based, I make polygraph testing more affordable to the local businesses in Newcastle and surrounding towns. It is not always easy to be the owner of your own business, but I believe that if you have integrity and you are the best at what you do, then you will always be successful and be supported locally," concluded Mr de Meyer.
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