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Police Report Templates
In the event of an accident, crime or an incident which occurs and the police are involved, it is essential to make a police report. Basically, a police report or a police report template is a document which is made when an incident or a crime is reported to the police. These reports typically contain the names of the people involved (victim/s and perpetrator/s), the type of offense which was committed, potential witnesses and other vital information related to the incident.
Usually, police incident reports are at the local police stations while the authorities are speaking to the victims in person. Nowadays though, there are options to file police reports online for specific cases or incidents. If you opt to file your case online though, you should take a look at some good police report examples for reference purposes. You’d also have to read everything thoroughly so that you are sure that online filing is the best move for you.
Once you’ve filed a police report and a police report template is completed, you would have an option to request a copy for yourself. You may have to pay a fee for a copy of the report then witness interviews would follow. You must also be given relevant contact information so that you will be able to monitor or keep track of the progress of your case.
It’s quite regrettable to note that many people file fake police report templates and about 40% or crimes actually go unreported and undocumented. Whenever you fall victim to a crime, it is very important to file a police report as it would increase the chances of getting the crime solved and you getting justice. However, you should only file a police report when a crime happens and when you’re actually a victim.
Depending on the nature and severity of the case, a police report template may be as simple as a one-page document or something more detailed which may contain more pages. After the report is filed and an investigation begins, witnesses would have to be interviewed and all their statements will be noted and added to the police file. The file can also include any results of drug, alcohol or forensic tests to help out prosecutors in case a suspect is arrested and charged.
This article is all about police reports, the important information they must contain, the importance of having them and so much more. Read on and be informed of what there is to know about police reports.
Important Elements of a Police Report
First, let’s take a look at the important elements a police incident report must contain. These elements are essential as all the information which would be included in a police report would be vital in the investigation of the case or crime which had happened. These elements are:
The Information Regarding the Incident
A good police report example would contain all the relevant information about the incident. The type of crime which had occurred, the place where it happened, how the incident was reported and received, the date and time of the report and of the incident and injuries sustained, if any.
The Reporting Party
This would include the information such as the name, race, physical appearance, date of birth, home address, marital status, social security number and the relationship of the person to the perpetrator of the one reporting the crime.
The Details of the Victim
The details of the victim have to be included such as the name, race, physical appearance, date of birth, home address, marital status, social security number and the relationship of the person to the perpetrator of the one reporting the crime. If there has been any damage done to their property or if any property belonging to the victim has been used to commit the crime, it has to be placed as a separate note or in a separate section.
The Known Suspect
The known suspect may just be a single person or a number of people, depending on how many are accused of the crime. An extensive physical description must be done for every single suspect along with other relevant information.
A Narrative of the Incident
This part would include all the details of the events which had led and resulted in the incident. It would be a narrative, first-hand account as given by the victim and other witnesses.
These important elements are needed in a police report template so that the information contained in the report can be used effectively in the next processes. Now let’s look at some steps on how to obtain and use a police report.
Acquiring and Using a Police Report
If an incident, accident or crime had happened and one or more police officers had responded, then a police report was most likely created. If you are involved in the incident or are one of the victims of the crime, you are entitled to get a copy of the said report. To be able to obtain a copy of the report, you’d have to contact the responding agency soon after the incident.
Find the contact details of the law enforcement agency and give them a call to ask for a copy of the police report template. You may have to pay a minimal fee and appear at the agency in person to get the report.
Though a police report isn’t acceptable in proceedings in the civil court, you may be able to use it as leverage in negotiating for any personal injury arguments for your own advantage.
Aside from this, you can use the information on the report to settle discussions in the event of an accident. Through the statements of the witnesses, you can determine who was at fault and who is responsible for the occurrence. The report would also contain contact details of the witnesses so you can give them a call if needed. Now let’s move on to learn why police reports are so important.
Why are Police Reports Important?
Investigating a crime, incident or accident relies a lot on specific and truthful facts. In order to minimize the occurrence of people filling in fake police report templates, police typically speak to the victims or witnesses personally to get an account of all the details. Police reports are used in order to determine if any charges will be filed against the suspect.
If and when a charge is filed, a copy of the police report is given to the criminal defense lawyers to guide them in understanding the details of the incident and be able to start preparing defensive strategies. Police reports can also be used throughout the investigation before the trial and during the trial as a reference.
It is an ideal for incident reports to be done right after the incident or crime had occurred. At the crime scene, the police should take down notes of everything they’ve seen and observed. They also take statements from the people involved and present at the scene along with evidence. After the crime scene has been cleared and made secure, the police officers would then have to write the report as soon as possible.
You’ve already learned about the important contents of a police report. It’s basically a detailed account of all the details of an accident, an incident or a crime. These details should be based on facts, especially in the narrative section of the report. The details and descriptions of the people involved and the people who had witnessed the incident are also included so if an investigation follows, those people can be easily found and contacted.
Once a criminal charge has been filed, the law enforcement agency should be able to provide the defendant and/or his attorney with a copy of the report when it is needed. If no report is given, it could be cause for the dismissal of the case.
As you can see, police reports are very important, especially when an investigation would follow. So let’s take a more detailed look at some steps and tips in making a police report.
Steps and Tips in Making a Police Report
It’s very important to know how to write a well constructed, detailed and truthful police report template. A well-made report would give a thorough description of the events of an incident based on facts. So if you’re curious about how the police create their reports, it would be relevant to learn and be guided by how to actually make a report.
- The first thing to do is to obtain the correct forms from the department. Each police department has their own protocol and procedure for dealing with incidents and filing reports.
- If you will be writing the report by hand, make sure to print the information rather than using cursive handwriting. If you are typing the report, use spell check software to make it accurate.
- Start creating the report as soon as you are able to. While at the scene of the crime, make notes on details and observations in order to help you remember everything when it’s time to create the report.
- Remember to focus on facts and details of what really happened. You may have to fill in blank spaces on a form or you may have to create a report using your own words. Either way, remember to include the following:
- The specific time, date and location the incident had occurred.
- Your name and ID or employee number.
- Full names of all the other officers present at the scene.
- Write down the details about the nature of the incident. State what had brought you to the scene. If you were called to the scene, make a note of what time you received the call and describe the call as well. Remember to stick to facts and exactly what you’ve heard and experienced, not a subjective account of what you think may have happened.
- Write your report in the first person, including an accurate chronological narrative of what had occurred when you arrived at the scene. Tell the story from your perspective while answering the “who, what, where, when and why” questions to make the report a lot clearer.
- You can also talk about what other people or witnesses have said as you’ve talked to them. While investigating a crime scene, you won’t only have to make observations but you’d also have to talk to the people at the scene and get statements of what had happened from their perspective.
- Taking notes would help you out a lot, you don’t have to write your notes in full detail, just the most important parts. Do this so that you don’t miss out on any important observations as you’re writing notes. Writing down the key facts will hopefully help you remember other details when you start making your report.
- Be sure to write down your narrative in full detail. You can write everything you remember as well as direct quotes from the people involved and the people who had witnessed the incident. Include an accurate narrative describing what you had done, what your role was in the whole course of the incident. Even in the event where you had used physical force to detain or restrain someone, write that down. Describe how you handled the situation and aftermath exactly, don’t leave anything out.
- Remember to follow the protocols and procedures which are set by your department when you are making your report. Make use of very specific narrations and descriptions so that whoever reads your report will understand what it says fully and know what had happened exactly.
- If you need to, make use of illustrations, pictures or diagrams, especially if something is quite difficult to put into words. You can even draw a diagram to be able to show what the scene had looked like when you arrived there.
- Using diagrams is especially useful in the case of making reports about vehicular accidents. You may be able to illustrate what had happened a lot better and clearer using a diagram. Then you can include the streets and make use of arrows to show the traffic flow and where each of the vehicles were headed before the accident happened.
Ensuring that the police report is accurate
- Your report has to be very thorough. To be able to make a good police report example, write as much as you know and remember including all details however small or minor you think they are. Never leave any room for other people reading your report to make wrong interpretations, which could complicate the situation. Don’t worry too much about making your report too long or using too many words. The more important thing is you write down all the details in full to be able to create a very clear picture of the whole incident and what had happened.
- It is important to include all accurate facts and details but leave out the rest. If you didn’t see what had happened, don’t write down that you did. Never rely on hearsay and don’t try rewording statements from witnesses in your own words. As much as you can, write down exactly what the witness had said and identify which witness had said it. If you have obtained information which you think is hearsay, report it as such.
- The importance of writing down everything, even hearsay is that you don’t miss out on anything. Hearsay may not be reliable but part of it could actually be helpful information and might be relevant. Also, include the behavior and demeanor of the witnesses as you are interviewing them so you can somehow determine if they are telling the truth or not.
- Be sure to use clear and concise language in writing your report. Using too much flowery wordings, confusing language or even technical jargon which would be difficult to understand for some readers. Use short, direct and factual sentences which would leave no room for any kind of interpretation.
- Get the names of all the people involved so when possible, include the name in the statements in your police incident report. This is also essential so that the roles of the people don’t get mixed up especially if there are a lot of persons involved in the incident. Also avoid using abbreviations because again, some people who will read the report might not understand them or might not know what they mean.
- Be very honest when you’re writing your report. You may not like what you did or how you had handled the situation or the aftermath but it is essential that you write everything down honestly. Changing the facts or writing inaccurate statement might put you in a lot of trouble if the real facts come out in the course of the investigation. Most likely someone had seen exactly how you had handled the situation and their accounts are in a different report.
- Once you’re done with your report, go through it again to check all the details for accuracy. Make sure to recheck the facts especially all the names, dates, times, exact addresses, license plate numbers and all other relevant information. You have to be sure that you hadn’t missed anything or left out any pertinent information which should have been part of the report. Read your report and try to see if there are any gaps which you may have to fill in.
- After you’ve checked all the facts, the next thing you should do it proofread your report to check for any errors in spelling and grammar which might contribute to your report being confusing. You can try reading your report out loud, listen to yourself and try to gauge if your whole report is easy to understand. Be sure to remove any and all words which may be subjective such as words which describe emotions or feelings.
- Once done, checked and double checked, be ready to submit your police report template. You have to know who you should submit the report to within your department and to whom your report will be sent. If possible, submit your report personally and allow yourself to be available to answer any or all questions or to provide clarification whenever needed.
- If you are to mail your report or send it through email, make sure to follow up with a call within 7-10 days to confirm that your report had been received.
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