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POLICE REPORT WRITING

DEFINITION Report is a story of actions performed by men. In police report, it is a chronological or step by step account of an incident that took place at a given time. OTHER DEFINITIONS A police report is an exact narration of facts discovered in the course of an investigation which serves as a permanent written record for present and future use. It is also defined as any written matter prepared by the police involving their interaction with members of the community. It is a permanent written records of police activities which communicates facts concerning people involved in criminal activities. It is a written records of an officers statement concerning his theory and opinion about the case investigated. VALUES OF REPORT 1. Report are filed because they are needed for the efficient operation of law enforcement activities. 2. Reports are permanent records of all important facts of case. They are stockpile of information to be drawn upon by all individuals on a law enforcement team. The efficiency of a police department is directly related to the quality of the reports and its reporting procedures. 3. Reports are written to serve as raw materials from which records systems are made. 4. Reports are written to reveal as part of the component of the record systems, the direct relationship between the efficiency of the department and the quality of its reports and reporting procedures. 5. Reports are written to guide administrators for policy formulation and decision making. 6. Reports are written to serve as gauge or yardstick for efficiency evaluation of police officers. 7. Reports are written to guide prosecutors and courts in theatrical of criminal cases investigated by the police. TWO GENERAL TYPES OF POLICE REPORTS 1. Basic or Informal Report. This report deals with the ordinary, miscellaneous, usual, day to day memorandum, letter, or form accomplished by any member of a unit, section precinct, bureau or division within a department in accordance with prescribed regulation. Usually, this report contains the following items.

The heading or the letterhead of the organization, office or section where the writer is assigned.

The The The The

date of preparation or submission. person or office to whom it is addressed or submitted. text proper name of the writer or source of the report.

Basic or informal reports are generally informal in nature. It seldom goes out of the police department. 2. Investigative or Formal Report. This report covers a full dress treatment in the presentation of the case. It is an exact and exhaustive narration of facts, without any addition or subtraction, which were discovered during the course of investigation. CLASSIFICATION OF INVESTIGATIVE OR FORMAL REPORT. 1. Initial or Advance Report. It is an advance information on a new or fresh case assigned to an investigator. It is written and submitted immediately after having conducted the initial investigation of the case. 2. Progress or Follow-up Report. It is the result of the follow-up investigations of the fresh or new case. It is written and submitted every time or whenever any development or progress is accomplished in the follow-up investigation. It is through these progress reports that a supervisor can determine if the detective is working on his case, and therefore, serve as a gauge or yardstick for the detectives efficiency. 3. Final or Closing Report. It is a complete written narration of fact based on an exhaustive investigation of the case by the detective who initially started the investigation of the case; it is the result of evaluation, summation, analysis of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case; typing all loose ends pertinent thereto so as to form a clear and composite picture of the crime committed in the mind of the readers for prosecutorial and judicial action. This final or closing report is written and submitted whenever the case is solved and classified as closed. It is categorized as solved and closed when the offender is finally arrested, the evidence against him is completely gathered to warrant prosecution, and witnesses located to testify for trial. Final or closing report is the proof of the successful culmination of a work well done. But before a case can be solved and eventually closed, an investigator has to undertaken a hazardous, persevering hit and miss follow-up actions to verity information which will lead the final solution of the case.

This report is completed with three parts: a. Heading- which includes the same letterhead, the same case number, the date the report is written, and the nattier of the

crime and the introductory paragraph which presents the original facts of the case. b. Body- this is the principal content of the report. It is here where the investigator relates the whole facts about the crime, and finally bringing the sequence of events to the final conclusions. c. Ending- it is usual administrative data, such as the signature of the report writer, the official endorsement of the section and the department to other officers concerned. PRINCIPLES OF GOOD REPORT WRITING 1. It must be clear Good English is relative. It can right for one reader, wrong for another. A writer must always work for clarity in police report writing. He is duty-bound to service his readers by letting them understand easily what he is trying to get across. Remember that readers have no time to looking into the meanings of difficult words used. It is true that dictionary is of help in case of difficult words, but it is just a waste of time and effort on the part of the readers. Write simple and direct as possible. Remember that common words are more powerful than uncommon ones for the simple reason that they can be understood by a number of people. 2. It must be accurate Accuracy is one of the essential qualities of a good report. Literally, accuracy means not only exactness but also non-commission of errors. Word presented must be precise. An investigator is a fact finder. Therefore, all the contents of his report must be based on facts-facts which are known through the use of any or all of his five senses. When you refer to appendages on top of houses which receive TV signals, they are called antennas (plural of antenna ); but when you are referring to the appendages or an insect, you mean antennae. When an investigator states in his report that the victim has a wound on her left breast, that is a fact. He has seen the wound personally. Never confuse one word for the other. Example is these office chiefs do not have time to adhere to the needs of their subordinates. (Webster says adhere to or sticks to an agreement, but attend to or satisfy someones needs.)

3. It must be brief Brevity means briefness. It is an essential characteristics of a well-written report.

Brevity or conciseness also means saying much in a fewer words. Hence, if a writer can write a word instead of a phrase, he must write that word; if he can write a phrase instead of a kilometric sentences, he must write that phrase; if he can writer a simple sentence instead of a very wordy paragraph, he must write that simple sentence. You write a report to communicate effectively. This is the aim or purpose of writing a report. Therefore, one should avoid redundant ideas. It will only defeat the purpose of the writer. The reader gets tired of seeing the same words, or words groups, carelessly distributed in a sentence or in a paragraph. Repetition and wordiness should not be encouraged if they are not important in the report. A writer thinks that the move words there are, the more emphatic the impression. Quite the contrary, using the word herewith or hereto after Enclosed 2, Attached, Submitted, Referred, Transmitted, and similar expressions is meaninglessly wordy. In a sentences, enclosed please find the Photostats of the different transmittals pending in your office, you better omit please find as the reader will surely do. So, it should read Enclosed are the Photostats of the different transmittals pending in your office. Also, for economy purposes, two or more sentences can written as so by means of subordination, as in The inspector went to the vehicle on the other side. As he approached, suspect gunman barred his way. This can be reduced in a better sentence through subordination. When the inspector went to the vehicle on the other side, suspect gunman batted his way. 4. It must be specific The report must be particular, definite, detailed. Use specific words that help you in conveying your ideas most clearly to the reader. You make a direct mental connection with him. The reader can picture in his mind what you have in your mind. I a someone will report a certain police officer because of the abuses he has committed against the complainant, he would not be specific if he would not mentioned his full name and rank, his unit assignment, the details of his offenses and everything about what happened. He has to go in details. It is not enough that he will just be reporting that a certain police officer made abuses on him. Concretize abstract words. Instead of saying weapon specify what kind of weapon. Lets say automobile. You can specify this as a 1985 Toyota Corolla, flaming red, license number 65432. Avoid using poor phrases in police report writing. Expressions like it was determined, It was learned should be avoided. Take not of the following paragraph.

On June 30, 1990, Prime Dimapuno was arrested and help for investigation of robbery. It was determined that he was around the vicinity when the complainant found out that his safe containing jewelry was no longer on his bedside table. The question is Who determined? The following expressions are not specific; therefore they should be substituted with better ones, mote concrete in treatment.

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1. At an early date, in the near future, the earliest possible time You will be notified at an early date. Mention the particular date. This month? This year? 2. Compromise I have a compromise to attend to. Name the particular engagement. 3. Party (when referred to somebody as in the legal parlance) The said party is guilty of murder. Name the particular person or party. 4. Same Your delivery man handed me the invoice and I thanked him for same. Omit or use the pronoun it, they, or them, depending on the antecedent. 5. It must be factual Everything an investigator writes in his report must be based on facts- facts discovered during the course of his investigation. The simplest words, constructed in short, declarative sentence-styling, in the third person, is all that is needed. The police officer, as we all know, is a fact finder. Hence, all the contents of his report must be factual. There should be no subtraction or addition of data gathered during the conduct of investigation. If the investigator states in his report that the victim has wound on her left breast, that is a fact because it is based on his sense of sight. It is a statement based on facts- it can be proven. 6. It must be complete Completeness in report writing means that all the facts discovered during the conduct of investigation must be reported. Do not omit some facts just to attain brevity. This will mislead the reader particularly if decision- making is involved. Partially stated facts are misleading as falsehoods. Any relevant and pertinent information must also be reflected in the report. The reader of your report will know only reports as it is stated in the report.

7. It must be relevant. The report should related exclusively to the stated objectives of function, or subject with- which it is concerned. However, if another subject is to be introduced in the same report, result of follow-up investigation of the original case the presentation of conclusion of the newly discovered facts should be closely related and the relationship should be made clear.

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8. It must be up-to-date The report must be current. Investigative reports must be submitted on time. It should be submitted even a few hours late or delay renders the report useless or obsolete. It is not any more a report but rather a news story. Every investigative report be it initial, progress or final must be submitted as soon as possible. Investigative reports submitted on time is a measure/gauge/yardstick of the efficiently of a police investigator he is. 9. It must be written in proper form. Form refers to the arrangement of the materials presented. The mechanical set up. It refers to anything that will make your report more easily road and useful as a reference. Form includes proper paragraphing, indention, punctuation, capitalization, syllabication, numbers, spelling, abbreviations- these are the chances in police report writing.

MECHANICS IN POLICE REPORT WRITING: Definition - Punctuation is that little customary marks that determine whether a sentence is clear or has a doubtful meaning. Purpose of Punctuation: 1. To separate the written matter into sentences. 2. To subdivide the sentence into word groups. 3. To let your reader know that you have written your report for his reading convenience. Kinds of Punctuations: There are two kinds of punctuation marks: a. End punctuation b. Inside punctuation End punctuation- there are punctuation marks used inside every paragraph.

END PUNCTUATION MARKS 1. Period (.) 1.a. Use a period at the end of a declarative or an imperative sentences. Examples: 1. The suspect surrendered the guns. 2. The suspect was caught at his residence at No. 713 Severino Street, Quiapo, Manila. 1.b. Use a period at the end of a declarative or an imperative sentences.

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Examples: 1. Dr. Enrique C. Galang was the former Dean of Graduate Studies of the Philippines College of Criminology. 2. Atty. Florante Seril suspended the student. 2. Questioned Mark (?) 2.a Use a question mark after a question or after the part of a sentence which asks a question. Examples: 1. Who is the suspect? 2. Who fired at the robbers? 3. Exclamation Mark (!) 3.a Use an exclamation mark after an expression of surprise or strong emotion. Examples: Help! Police! Hold-up! the victim shouted. INSIDE PUNCTUATION MARKS 1. Comma ( , ) Use a comma before coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for,) which join two independent clauses. Examples: 1. The suspect surrendered the guns, and the parents asked of a lawyer. 2. We must conduct the raid now, or later will be too late.
1.1

1.2 Use a commas to set off appositives. An appositive is a word or a phrase which immediately follows a noun or a pronoun and denotes the same person, place or thing. Examples: 1. P/CINSP DIONISIO E. COLOMA, formerly the Philippines National Police Academy Superintendent, is now the Chief of the Community Relations Service at Camp. Crame. 2. The fatal weapon, a .45 caliber pistol, was confiscated from the suspect.

1.3 Use a comma to separate two or more coordinate/ equal adjectives which modify the same hour. Examples: 1. The victim was a female, lovely, and young lady student from University of the East. 2. The crime scene was a dark, dirty, large room. Use a commas to separate contrasting expressions. Examples: 1. The victim, not the suspect started the incident. + 2. The students, not the faculty members are in favor of class suspension.

I.4

I.5

Use a commas to set off expression like he said, she said, and they said from direct quotations. Examples: 1. The suspect said, This is a hold-up. 2. This is a hold-up, the suspect said.

I.6

Use comma before Sr. and Jr. titles following a name; between a title and the names of an organization; between smaller and larger geographical units. Dr. Eduardo J. Bautista, Sr. Sales St., Sta. Cruz, Manila Superintendent, Western Police District Command

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In numbers, a comma is placed after each group of three digits counting from the right. Examples: 1. The expenditure for 1989 of the PNP was P3654321.00 2. His income for the year 1994 amounted to P567. 987.00

2. Semicolon (:) 2.1 Use a semicolon between two independent clauses of a compound sentence when conjunctions such as and, but, nor, for, yet, and so are committed. 2.2 Use a semicolon before a conjunctive adverb when it joins independent clauses. Examples: 1. He was not allowed to go: yet, he still insisted. 2. A police investigator has to write the report as soon as possible: otherwise it is not anymore a report but a news story.

2.3 The semicolon is practically placed between ( to separate ) items in a series if there are commas within the items. Examples: 1. The tall, dark, handsome accomplice smiled, but the short, husky, ugly support sneered. 3. Colon (;) 3.1 Use a colon to introduce a list or a summarizing word, phrase or cluase. Examples:

1. Listed in the order of their importance are the three methods of developing fingerprints: iddine, powder and silver nitrate. 2. The basic duties of a police officer are: a. prevention of crimes b. maintenance of peace and order. 3.2 Use a colon in expressing time to separate the hours and minutes.

Examples: 1. The robbery was committed between 12:00 mignight, April 13 and 3:00 p.m., April 14, 1995. 3.3 Use a colon after itemizing a list presented in a column

Examples: According to the victim, the following valuables were forcibly taken form her by the holdupper.
(a) (b) (c) (d)

A pair of gold earrings with diamond stone, valued at. P 1,000 A gold ring with initials JVC valued at .... 4,000 A citizen solid gold ladys wristwatch valued at .. 5,000 One thousand cah money. 1,000 TOTAL .. P 11,000 4. Quotation Marks ( )
4.1

Use quotation marks to set off the exact words spoken or written by another person. When two or more paragraphs are quotations marks are placed at the begginning of each paragraphs and at the end of the last paragraph. If there are for example three paragraphs quoted and the close quotation marks are palced at the end of the thrid paragraph, it means that the three quoted paragraphs are taken only from only one sources or authority.

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But if the three paragraphs quoted have the open and close quotation marks, it means that there are three different sources of authority each paragraph is quoted from a distrinct source. 4.3 Use single quotation marks to set off a quotation. 4.4 Generally, the close quotation marks is placed outside any proceding punction. 5. Apostrophe ()
1.1 1.2

Use the apostrophe to show possession. Singular and plural nouns not ending in S form the posseisive by adding s, singular and plural nouns ending in S add the apostrophe only.

1.3

Use the apostrophe to indicate the omission of a letter or letter in a contraction. A contraction is the combination of two words to form only one word. Examples: 1. Its his first day in jail. 2. Dont attempt to escape.

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6.

Parenthesis ( )
1.1

Use parenthesis when numerals are placed in formal enumaration within a sentence. Examples: In the Philippine setting, five pillars of a criminal justice system are (1) police, (2) prosecution, (3) courts, (4) corrections, (5) community)

1.2

Use the parenthesis explanatory material.

to

enclose

supplementary

or

7.

Examples: When the suspect was arrested the solid gold Rolex wrist watch (see item 6 in the list) was recovered in his possession. Hyphen 7.1 Use hyphen with compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine. 7.2 Use a hyphen to indicate the division of a word in syllable at the end of a line when the reminder of the word is carried to the next line.

Syllabication/ Division of words Syllabication is the division of words into syllables. Technically, the improper division of words is not an error in spelling.

CASES REQUIRING CAPITALIZATION


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a. Capitalize the first letter of the first word of each sentence. b. Direct quotation, quotations, slogans, and mottoes that appear within a sentences as the first letter of the first word must be capitalized, whether quotation marlks are placed or not. c. Capitalize the firstletter of the first word in any enumaration when the enumeration is presented in columns or itemized. Capitalization of Proper Nouns and Adjectoves. a. Names of persons, place, institution, organizatins, governing bodies, political parties are capitalized. b. Names of races and language are capitalized. c. Names of religious sects, words designating God and names of parts of the Bible are capitalized.

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d. Names of historical epochs and events are capitalized. e. Any title of honor or respect proceding a proper name is capitalized. f. Every word in the title of books, magazines, documents and newspaper except articles, prepositions are capitalized. 3. Abbreviations are capitalized.

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CASES NOT REQUIRING CAPITALIZATION 1. Do not capitalize enumerations or summations within a sentences. 2. Do not capitalize the first letter of a sentence inserted within another when it is separated by parenthesis or dashes. 3. Do not capitalize institutions and georgraphical terms unless they are used with a proper noun. SUBJECT - TO - LETTER The subject - to letter has been used in formal policce correspondence since 1976 when the INP was merged with the PC as the nucleus. Commendations, certificates of application or any other meritorious recongnition, basic transmittal, recommendations for promotion and similary related requests are formalized in subject-toletter.