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10 Most Common Mistakes Officers Make on Police Reports

Police reports are an important part of our justice system, but officers can sometimes make mistakes in their reports. In this guide, we'll explore the 10 most common errors officers make in police reports and how to use these mistakes to your advantage.

Poorly Writing the Narrative Section

One of the most common mistakes officers make in their police reports is writing the narrative section poorly. The narrative section is where you describe the incident in detail and provide your opinions on any related evidence or testimony. It's important for this section to be precise, accurate, and clear so that it can effectively support your conclusions. To make sure that you write a proper narrative section, be sure to cite all relevant sources properly and clearly describe what happened in vivid detail.

Neglecting to Signal Compliance or Defiance

Another mistake officers make in police reports is neglecting to mention the behavior of suspects at the scene, such as whether they complied with an officer's instructions or defied them. It's vital to include information like whether a suspect obeyed an officer's orders or refused them, as this will be helpful for making decisions about punishments later on. Describing suspects' behavior accurately and thoroughly will greatly enhance your report's credibility.

Omitting Important Information

One of the most common mistakes officers make in police reports is omitting important information. Officers often forget to include key details such as evidence collected at the scene, witness testimony, and suspect descriptions. If you are writing a police report, it's essential to remember that every detail can be useful when making decisions later on down the road. Include all relevant information and make sure to provide an accurate and comprehensive description of everything that happened.

Failing to Identify Witnesses, Victims, and Suspects Correctly

It's important to accurately identify everyone involved in an incident, including victims, witnesses, and suspects. Make sure to collect as much information as possible such as name/alias, physical description, contact information, and age. When writing up the police report, reiterate this provided information for accuracy. Information about those involved is crucial for making a clear and concise report.

Unreadable Handwriting or Typos

Making sure the words written in a police report are easy to read is key for all parties involved. Handwriting that's hard to read can lead to misunderstandings and future problems. Similarly, typos can lead to inaccuracies or cause confusion when examining any part of the report. Both of these issues can be prevented with proper proofreading before submitting a report. Always take your time to review what you have written and make sure it's correct before submitting anything official.

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