Writing a police report may sound like something we may never want to wish ourselves. Most people pray never to have any business with the police, let alone write a report. Yes, this is understandable but since no one knows what may arise in the next few minutes, it is necessary to be ready at all times. A little knowledge about everything, writing inclusive, will do a whole lot of good.
The Ready Writers are the vanguards of writing, whatever the form, and can help you out in this regard.
However, if you wish to learn, this article can give you a headstart. Creative as writing is, you become better after each and every attempt at it. For both starters and renowned writers, consistency in writing leads to perfection.
When writing a police report, take note of the following, whether as a police officer, a plaintiff or an accused.
Steps to Follow
These are three major steps you should follow when writing a police report:
Describing What Happened
Editing Your Report
A police report is formal but it requires a detailed and accurate account of what happened; the where, when, how and why. You must stick to the facts all through.
It is necessary to get the right form(s) from the relevant police department. Whether you’re an officer or not, you can write the report by filling out a form or by handwriting or typewriting.
It is also necessary to start writing as soon as possible. Waiting till later before writing could jeopardize this effort because most of what happened might be forgotten. To avoid this, you can record the event.
You must also focus on the facts. You need to provide an accurate mention of names (the plaintiff or accused), place, description, time, the number of the parties involved.
Also, you must objectively state how you got to the scene. Was it by a call or voluntarily or accidentally?
Describing What Happened:
What happened? You must state this in detail and in a logical order using the personal pronoun “I” because it is a personal encounter.
Moreover, it is advisable to tell what role you played in the whole course of the event. Was there any use of force, or help from anyone to contain the situation? Comments of witnesses too must be documented. The police should provide the protocol to doing this.
You could also use diagrams. This helps in situations where you cannot recall the place or most of the information at the time of the incidence. Pictures become a provisional tool to employ, here.
Be as thorough as possible for the report to be acceptable. It must be well-explained for anyone reading to have a clear picture of what transpired.
Remember to give detailed personal observation as against Hearsay: Don’t mix things up. If you did not see anything yourself, simply tag it hearsay.
Use clear language and spell out abbreviations for clarity. You must be as honest as possible.
Edit Your Report
It is your responsibility as the writer to check the report for accuracy. You must cross-check and correct any error in the spelling of names, addresses, license plate numbers and grammatical expressions or subjectivity etc for certainty.
Finally, ask for the relevant officer whose duty it is to collect and document the report. Then for purpose of summoning, you must collect the personal contact (phone number, email etc) of the same officer.