Just 60 seconds of adrenaline-pumping activity can ‘seriously damage’ their recollection of the event, according to UK scientists.
They say forgetfulness is often triggered by high-energy events like chasing a suspect.
Lorraine Hope, from the University of Portsmouth, believes her findings, published in journal Psychological Science, flag up the potential problems with witness statements.
She said: ‘Police officers are often expected to remember in detail who said what and how many blows were received or given in the midst of physical struggle or shortly afterwards.
‘The results of our tests indicate it may be very difficult for them to do this.’
Dr Hope added: ‘As exhaustion takes over, cognitive resources tend to diminish. The ability to fully shift attention is inhibited, so even potentially relevant information might not be processed.’
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