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Writing incident reports are an important part of most security guard jobs. You need to be able to communicate well with your writing. That means that you must use proper spelling and grammar – no text-speak or Internet language allowed! Incident reports at some companies might be “confidential” but you should assume that at the very least your boss and your boss’s boss will be reading it and it might be read by legal attorney, police, or fire department personnel.
Most employers will provide some kind of template to base your report on. This will make it a lot easier and the more incident reports you do the faster you will get at it. If you are using a computer program like Word, you will be able to use a spell checker but you should still read it over to make sure it makes sense. If your incident report is to be hand written be sure that your penmanship is legible and clear.
Just the Facts
Incident reports should never include your opinions. The should be factual. You may not be able to say that a suspect or someone you have detained was drunk but you can say that you smelled alcohol on his breath. Use quotes if you can remember them exactly to signify that those were the exact words.
When someone is reading your incident report they should be able to understand the language no matter what their experience is. You don’t have to write a college exam. Use simple language that anyone should be able to understand. Try to avoid using jargon when possible. If it is unavoidable, write the meaning of the jargon in brackets.
Don’t turn your incident report into one long paragraph that will be difficult to get through. Make sure you use paragraphs so that the reader will know when you are presenting facts about something new. You can even use bullet points or numbered lists if they seem appropriate. They can make it easier to read and will draw the reader’s eye toward important points.
5 Ws and an H
Who, what, when, where, why, and how – these should all be part of your incident report. If you are missing one of these then your report is not complete. Include everyone that was present including police, firemen, and other emergency personnel; be clear about what happened and where it happened; explain what events led up to the incident and how it progressed.
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