A police report is a description of facts surrounding a crime. It is used to report who, what, when, where, why and/or how a crime took place, although some of those facts may not be known at the time it is written. The term “police report” can be used to describe a report filed by a victim or witness of a crime or the preliminary report filed by an officer investigating a crime. These reports are often passed on to other policemen or crime scene specialists, who use them as a factual basis for investigating the crime.
Unlike other prose-based essays, the main focus of preliminary reports is to report the facts, rather than argue a thesis. Read more to find out how to write a police report Gather your evidence or other reports. You will need to refer to them throughout your report.
If you have a lot of evidence, take time to make a physical or mental list so that you are less likely to forget important elements 1.
Gather witness testimony. This will be an essential part of your report. If you are the witness to the crime, then make notes about what you saw as soon as you can after it happened. * Many studies with memory have shown that our memories of events, even important moments like crimes, change in time. They may also be swayed by speaking with other people who have witnessed the event. Increase your accuracy by writing police reports immediately after you witness events.
1. Request a police report form. If you are a policeman, there is likely to be a template available to you. If you are reporting as a victim or witness to a crime, go online or call your local police department to inquire about the correct procedure for filling and filing a police report.
Writing the Report
Fill out a form, if one is given to you. Not all police reports are written in sentence structure. You may simply be asked to fill in the appropriate boxes on a form, according to the crime, witnesses and any other data you have gathered.
1. Write the police report on the computer, unless you are asked to write it by hand. This will make it more legible and allow you to check it for spelling, punctuation and content errors. * If you must hand write a report, be sure to print, rather than write in cursive or italic handwriting. This will allow your report to be read more clearly by all the parties involved.
Write a prose summary of the incident, including only the facts of the case. You may be asked to do this in addition to filling out a police report form. The summary should be in chronological order and include the following elements: * Witness reports. Witnesses will likely be asked to submit their own description of what they saw. Use this to describe any suspects or crimes that were committed. * A description of the crime scene. It is important to start out with the facts of the case, so that people are acquainted with the facts immediately, instead of drawing conclusions. You can use some descriptive words to describe the environment and the people involved. Include addresses, the crime, crime scene evidence, locations, the date and the time.
* A chronological narrative. You should include how you came upon the scene, who was involved, what they said and any investigative avenues that are being taken. Instead of repeating what was said in the crime scene description or the witness reports, you can describe other times, the witnesses themselves, the crime that was committed, other officers and any other factors that could be relevant. Continue your narrative up until the present day. * Make sure your narrative contains the following things: the reason you were on the scene, observations, arrests, statements, evidence and booking.
Proof your report for any spelling or punctuation errors. Make sure you have spelled witness and place names correctly. Remove any words that could be seen as subjective, unless they are witness reports.
Turn in your report to the proper authorities. This could be either a superior officer or a policeman at a station.