Written Communication | Police Prof

Written Communication

April 9, 2013

It is sometimes said that the reading comprehension and grammar section of the National Police Selection Test for aspiring police officers is a complete waste of time. “I have passed my English exams at school and have the certificates to prove it. Why do I need to prove myself all over again?” On the face of it that may be a fair point. However, with any skills we have in life, they need to be honed and improved upon. Written communication in police work requires some very specific skills.

I won’t go through the rhetoric that will have been provided by teachers in English speaking schools around the world. Spelling and grammar are important in any job where you have to deliver written reports. Report writing is a crucial element of police work. It is not everyone’s favorite task but it is a necessary evil.

One of the skills of report writing other than spelling and grammar is getting the facts in the right order. Many a supervisor will have tossed back a report because they simply couldn’t understand what happened simply because the sequence of events is all jumbled up. It is all too easy just to write down what happened during an incident in the order you remember it, rather than in the correct sequence of events.

A good tip is to list the events in chronological order first i.e.
1. Woman waits at bus station
2. Man snatches bag
3. Man runs away
4. Woman screams….and so on

Once you have laid out all the bullet points in sequential order you can than start fleshing it out with relevant facts pertaining to each point. This works really well and should keep your supervisor very happy.

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