Incident Report Writing on the Police Exam!September 27th, 2021
What is Incident Report Writing?
Police officers routinely file reports. Whether its arrest reports, incident reports, or accident reports. Incident report writing on the police exam is used to establish both the attention to detail and communication skills of the applicant.
Attention to detail and communication are important skills.
Police officers are highly trained personnel who must have a combination of:
- observational skills – to establish what has happened at the point of visiting the crime scene.
- analytical skills – to work out precisely what happened, taking witness statements from multiple sources, for example.
- communication skills – the ability to accurately record facts in writing.
Applicants often forget how much paperwork is involved in law enforcement.
Because police officers regularly file reports, this skill is tested on the police officer exam. Remember, incident reports (and other kinds of report) are no insignificant matter. These reports are used at all levels of the court system to establish the evidence base for prosecution.
You will be presented with a report and asked to identify information from the report. It is important, therefore, that you are both fast and accurate. Note that this is included as part of the police written exam. And as with most aspects of the written test, it is important that the candidate demonstrate a strong grasp of spelling and grammar.
Effective incident reports are:
- Written clearly
- Effectively recording relevant facts
- Written in chronological order
However, once you become familiar with how incident reports are structured, this process becomes much easier with time.
Sample Incident Report
Incident report writing on the police exam typically follows a defined structure.
Before we learn more about this structure, let us first look at what a standard incident report looks like on your police test.
Note that individual police departments may present a report in a different format, but by and large the same kind of information is tested on each report.
There are four common types of police exam questions on incident reports:
- You may be given a report that is partially filled; and asked to extract the correct information from the report. This is like police questions you may have practiced for reading comprehension.
- You may be given a report that is empty (see above); and asked to fill out the form by including information in specific slots.
- You will be given a paragraph that details a reported crime. You will then be asked to compare this paragraph to the incident report. You may also be asked if all information included in the paragraph can complete an entire incident report.
- You may be asked inference questions. For instance, you will be presented with a limited, partially filled incident report. An inference question may ask you to infer information or conclusions based on the specific information provided in the report.
As we learned above, answering questions on incident report writing on the police exam resembles that of reading comprehension.
How to Answer Incident Report Questions
Ultimately, the same skills are involved; the only difference is that incident report writing is directly applicable to the everyday career of a law enforcement officer.
Candidates should, therefore, seek to maximize their score on this part of the written exam – not to simply achieve a high score for the sake of it, but because incident report writing forms an integral and important part of your future career. In other words, this is a skill you should actively seek to grow in the weeks and months ahead – acting as motivation to encourage your study.
Second, when answering incident report questions, candidates should be careful about how questions are worded. Often, examiners use negative words such as “not”. For example: “Michelle did not go to the score at 3.50am”. If you were to rush through these questions, you could easily miss the negative. Double negatives may also be used to add to this confusion. Be careful with times, too. For instance, you may be asked questions about a time or day that the offense was reported, however, a crime may be presented at one time but reported much later. You need to put all details in perspective. Otherwise, you risk overlooking important facts. These small errors are avoidable but they are also common. The pressure of the police exam can affect many applicants – which brings us to the next test tip.
Third, take your time. There is plenty of time to answer these questions. If you do not know the answer to a question, do not spend more time than you need to. Instead, move on to easier questions and, if you have enough time at the end, come back to the question with a clear mind and try again. Time management is an important component for success on the police written examination.
Fourth, become familiar with how incident reports are structured. That way, there are no surprises on exam day. The more police exam questions you practice, the better. Your mind will become accustomed to both the structure of the incident report as well as the typical kind of questions asked during the police test.
Master incident report writing today by joining Police Test Study Guide; the largest online platform that creates tomorrow’s police officers, today.