The next time you write a police report, consider using these 10 tips and you’ll be able to complete the paperwork faster and more efficiently. And that is just one advantage. Anyone who reads your paper (a officer, reporter or lawyer) will be impressed with your ability to write and professionalise. You’ll have avoided obsolete (and time-wasting) wordiness which characterizes so much writing by the police.
- Use the names and pronouns (I, he, her) while writing on scene about yourself and others. Stop obsolete phrases such as “this cop” and “the aforementioned witness” or “victim 1.” Some officers have been taught in the past that impersonal jargon ensures objectivity and precision. Not true!-Not true! If you name yourself “I” or “this cop,” you have the same honesty. And think about this: if you testify in court and swear to tell the truth, you would use everyday language (“I,” “me”) in your testimony. In your reports follow the same pattern.
- Restrict yourself to one thought per word.
It’s easy to read and understand simple, straightforward sentences, saving time for everyone. (This time-saving trick is especially appreciated when you review a report to prepare for a court hearing.) The longer the sentence is, the more likely you are to make an error.
- Start with a person, place, or thing on every sentence.
The usual structure of sentences in English begins with a noun, and the grammar is simple: only put a period at the end. On the other hand, complicated sentences require complex punctuation, so they open the door to errors in sentencing.To find more info, Tips for Writing Police Reports Efficiently.
- Try to confine yourself to 3 commas per paragraph.
If a sentence has more than three commas, it may be too difficult to read quickly, and may contain errors in the use of punctuation.
- Be as transparent and measurable as possible.
“Contacted” is vague: Did you visit the witness by phone or email? “Residence” is equally confusing: residence, flat, mobile home, condo? Always aim to be transparent.
- Using plain language.
“Pertaining to” is a fancy (and time-wasting) way of writing “about.” 7. “Because” is easier to understand (and write) than “as much as.” Hold to observed reality.
Conclusions, assumptions, hunches, and other forms of thinking are not a part of a study. Stick with the facts. An claim like “He was violent” will not stand up in court. Nevertheless, you might write: “Jackson clenched his fists and kicked a chair.” 8. Write in lines.
Organizing details in groups (what each witness told you, what actions you have taken, what facts you have gathered) has two significant advantages: the report is more concise and later it is easier to read and understand.
- Using moving speech.
Throughout law enforcement, a common (and mistaken) notion states that passive voice ensures objectivity and accuracy. Incorrect. Writing a sentence like “A revolver under the nightstand was seen” does not guarantee you are telling the truth. Just writing “I saw a revolver under the nightstand” is much better. That’s what you’d say in court, wouldn’t it?
- 10. Using style on the bullet.
You probably wrote shopping lists the whole of your life. Use the same format for collecting many pieces of related information.