Ever witnessed a punch up during a boozy night out? Did you assume that you probably wouldn’t be a reliable witness because you’d been drinking?
You may have been right, but our latest research indicates that in some circumstances this is not the case.
There is a strong link between alcohol and crime, however in certain situations alcohol may have a beneficial effect on memory, says new research.
ccording to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 70 per cent of public violent incidents in 2013-14 were alcohol related and 93 per cent of those happened in pubs, bars and clubs where alcohol is sold.
Given these numbers, it is likely that many witnesses and victims will be under the influence when they witness a crime.
But are drunk witnesses always less reliable than sober ones?
Our study, published in Psychopharmacology, shows that if alcohol is consumed after witnessing a crime it can protect memory from misleading information.
The 83 participants in our study watched a video of a staged theft, where a man and a woman entered a house and stole some jewellery, money and a laptop.
The robbers then swiftly left the property, before the homeowner could stop them.
After watching the film, participants were split into three groups.
Members of the first group were given alcohol and were aware that they had been given it.