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Alcohol-intoxicated witnesses, victims and suspects: Procedures and prevalence according to police officers in Sweden.

Conference contribution
Authors Angelica Hagsand
Jacqueline R. Evans
Nadja Schreiber Compo
Published in Oral presentation at the 7th Nordic Police Seminar, Umeå University (Sweden).
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords police survey, prevalence, procedures, alcohol, intoxication, witnesses, victims
Subject categories Law, Psychology


Introduction: The beliefs held by law enforcement personnel play a crucial part in the Swedish legal system. As such, these beliefs also play an important role in how potentially vulnerable groups such as alcohol-intoxicated witnesses, victims and suspects are perceived and engaged. Aim: The aims of the present study were to examine a) the prevalence of intoxication among witnesses, victims and suspects involved in crimes in Sweden, b) if there exists any standard procedures for interviewing/interrogating these groups, and c) the beliefs and perceptions held by police officers concerning the credibility of these groups. Method: In May 2018, all seven main Police districts in Sweden was contacted via e-mail with a link to the online survey. For comparison purposes, the present survey was based on and conducted in a similar manner as the survey about intoxicated witnesses, victims and suspects among U.S. police officers (see Evans, Schreiber Compo, & Russano, 2009). The survey started with a description of aim, background, and a consent form. Participants were informed that the study would take 20-30 minutes to fill out and that their answers would be anonymous. Then followed different sections with open-ended, scaled, and multiple-choice questions about the prevalence of intoxicated witnesses, victims and suspects, potential standard interview protocols, and the police officers perceptions’ of these groups. Result: Data-collection is still ongoing. During the two weeks the survey has been active online, 26 police officers from different areas of Sweden have answered so far. The data collection will continue until approximately the end of June when it is predicted that 50-100 police officers in total will have answered. The results from the survey will be reported as descriptive data and compared to international research. Discussion: Implications of the findings for the police force and the research field will be discussed at the conference.

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