The criminal Justice department is most often the first contact in the law enforcement system that an individual encounters following a crime or incident that require reporting to the justice departments. Therefore documentation is a very important aspect, and effective documentation for that matter should always be sought. The table below summarizes the main types and uses of written forms of communication in the system that one needs to familiarize themselves with. The second part expounds on the requirements and features of a police report.
|Narratives and Reports||This details the interaction between police officers and the suspects. They entail the time of the arrest, the conduct of the suspect to the police officer at the time of arrest and maintain information of how and why an officer arrested someone.Any other details written and not documented in this will thus be treated as hearsay and shall be inadmissible.|
|Judicial Orders||This is usually an order given by a judge about a given case. It’s used to enforce the decision made by a judge in a given case.|
|Legal pleadings and citations||These are formal pieces of writing such as complaints of damage submitted to a court of law to evaluate criminal defendants|
|Informal Communications||These include emails to other police officers and lawyers. Used to pass quick information relevant to specific cases. They are liable to third party review if need arises|
|Studies and Research||These are used to give detailed information on previous cases that had been heard before. They can thus be used to handle similar cases that arise later.(Frazee et al,2008)|
|1.||Crime Classification||Following the report of an incident, crime evaluation should be done and the crime classified into its category. The crime is then categorized into the class in which it belongs.|
|2.||Basic Information||The basic information needs to be collected from the suspect. This is best done following the checklist usually provided. These are mainly collected from the victim’s or alleged suspect’s government identification card. Remember to include contact information and phone numbers.|
|3.||Incident Information||This entails the date, time and location of the incident. When the crime occurs in different locations, Indicate the first location. The rest are then indicated in the narrative.|
|4.||Suspect Information||This involves a detailed description of the suspect. The physical description including clothing, eye color, height, hair color, skin complexion, approximate age, weight, tattoos, scars and race|
|5.||Report Narrative||Gather data in a chronological manner. Pay keen attention to detail and avoid repetitions and contradictions. Ask questions for further clarifications.(Frazee et al, 2008)|
In summary, the various types of reports in the field of criminal justice including; Arrest reports, evidence collection reports, crime reports, event or incident reports, narcotic, drunk driving, intoxication reports, and clearance reports, are recorded the same format. In reference to criminal justice, the main type of report usually recorded is the crime report. A well written report serves several purposes which include; possible avoidance of court, good representation by a lawyer in a court of law and could also land a trainee a criminal writing job. A well written report has the power of convicting a suspect or releasing the same suspect. (Morley, 2008)
The crime report has to include all the above listed features and characteristics. The features are essential because they enable one to know exactly which time of crime was committed and the exact details that surround it. They also enable one to come up with a rough idea of who the suspect might be which later helps in further investigations. It may also aid in court proceedings and capturing of the events exactly as they occurred, which reduces the chances of a contradictory story arising that could be derogatory to the case. (Miller et al, 2014)
In conclusion, effective report writing is important because it gives good documentation of everything. This then enables you to begin investigations given the acquired information on the given suspects. It also assists later with the court proceedings. Also it helps in good communication between one officer and another, especially during handing over.
Frazee B, Davis J. N (2008) Painless Police Report Writing: An English Guide for Criminal Justice Professionals: Pearson Prentice Hall
Miller L.S, Whitehead J.T (2014) Report Writing for Criminal Justice professionals: Routledge
Morley P (2008) Report Writing for Criminal Justice Professionals: Learn to Write and Interpret Police Reports: Kaplan.
Reynolds J (2012) Criminal justice report writing: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform