Security Report Writing Tips

security report writing

Photo Courtesy: Bruce Guenter/Flickr


 

A security guard often must write a report to document an incident, or simply as a daily log. It is important to write clear a security report, so here are some tips for security guards to follow when writing their reports.

  1. USE NORMAL LANGUAGE

Some people think they should use fancy jargon in security reports – the opposite is true! Use everyday English rather than complicated “police terms.” Lots of different people may read your report (supervisors, police, juries). It needs to be understandable to lots of different types of people, so the less jargon the better.

  1. REMEMBER THE 5 W’s

A nice way to capture the most important details in a security report of an incident, is to remember the 5 W’s:

  • WHO: Who were the people most involved? Who else witnessed events? Did you get their contact information and other relevant information about them? If you didn’t get their names, describe their physical characteristics (but avoid using offensive language to describe people).
  • WHAT: What actions and events happened? Start from the beginning, and go point-by-point or event-by-event from beginning to end. Include as much detail as possible about how each event unfolded.
  • WHEN: What date and time was the incident? Depending on the type of incident, it may also be useful to describe the weather, the lighting, or other conditions.
  • WHERE: Where exactly did the incident take place? Include the address, or use details about nearby objects, buildings, etc., to be as precise as possible.
  • WHY: This is generally not as important. In fact, unless you heard someone say something explaining their actions, it’s best not to speculate on people’s motivations. Your job is to stick to clear undisputable facts.
  1. ONLY INCLUDE FACTS

As you saw from the “WHY” category above, it is important to be objective. Do not give your opinion about who was at fault – it will actually make your security report weaker. You must stick to facts – the things you saw with your eyes, heard with your ears, etc.

  1. TAKE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS ON YOUR PHONE

If your phone has a camera on it, take as many photos or videos as you can. They provide additional objective information. Some security companies use mobile report form apps like Zenput, which lets you complete an incident report on your smartphone, including photos and videos in the actual report.

  1. BE PROFESSIONAL

Remember lots of people may read the report. Don’t judge anyone in your security report. Don’t use slang or rude words. Once you’ve identified people once in the report, refer to them as “Mr.” or “Ms.” when you mention them again.

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