Incident report writing is standard practice as a law enforcement officer; the day-to-day kind of task that you can expect to complete. That’s why incident report writing questions increasingly appear on the police exam – and why you need to be prepared for it.
The best approach is to get your hands on as many incident reports as possible.
These reports needn’t be real reports, either. If they accurately represent what is typically included on a police report, that’s all that matters. Below, we have put together a sample incident report that detailing the kind of information that always gets documented.
Take a few minutes to become accustomed to the style, structure, and detail expected on incident reports. This familiarity is crucial when answering police exam questions on this topic.
When filling out incident reports, it’s imperative that you:
Incident reports are very important.
The details you enter on reports may be used in court proceedings, influencing the direction of a trial. Of course, you may even be required to formally give evidence to the court, and to justify the evidence that you detailed in the report. Consistent accuracy is crucial.
For the police officer test, you will be presented with an incident report like the one we examined above. Most police departments now include incident report writing as part of their test process.
You will be asked to read this report – and to interpret the information on it.
In effect, this is a form of reading comprehension (another subject on the police test); in the sense that you are given a series of details/information and asked to offer the most correct interpretation of the evidence.
Sample incident report writing questions include:
You may also be given a police math question, particularly if the crime committed was burglary. As the pressure of the exam takes hold, it’s important not to rush – otherwise these easy marks can be missed. It has happened, and it continues to happen in the police exam each year.
Remember: the incident report may be long and detailed.
You must take the time to become accustomed to the structure and detail of the report in a relatively short period of time. After all, the more time spent reviewing the report, the less time available to answer questions.
For incident reports, always keep an eye on the clock. Spend the first minute or so reviewing the report in detail; and the remainder of the time answering questions. At the end of the exam, always double-check your answers to ensure that no simple mistakes were made.
Don’t get distracted by irrelevant detail. Let’s not forget that there is going to be more information than you need to answer all test questions. It may be tempting to choose one detail over another. In fact, examiners often include multiple details which overlap in meaning. You need to choose the right one. By rushing, you may end up choosing the wrong detail to answer the question. Take your time – and read what exactly is asked of you.
That way, you can avoid simple mistakes and maximize your police test result.
Incident report writing has become a major part of the police officer exam.
One of the great advantages of this exam topic is that the marks can be easy to hoover up. They’re only easy to gain, of course, if you adopt the right strategy. Throughout the course of this blog, we’ve spelled out the kind of strategies that you need to implement.
In the meantime, become familiar with as many styles of incident report that you can get your hands on. You could even contact your local police department and ask them to give you a sample, unfilled report. In fact, this may even be the style that appears on your police exam.
Practice as many incident report writing questions you can. This way, what comes up on the exam won’t be a surprise; you’ll have seen it all before. By combining all the strategies and techniques laid out here, you’ll dominate this part of the police exam and have that extra edge over the competition.
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