PSIS - Security Guard Study Guide Report Writing
Private Security and Investigative Services
Security Guard Test Preparation Guide
Section 4 - Report Writing
Security guards are required to complete written reports of occurrences, duties performed and comprehensive descriptions of their tasks/observances. They should have an understanding of how to write reports that are objective and standardized.
A notebook is arguably a security guard’s most important tool – it is used on a daily basis to provide an account of the events that unfolded on that day.
A notebook should be kept as neat as possible, be organized chronologically, and should not be tampered with (for example, no pages should be torn out, as it may give the impression that the security guard was trying to remove information). Overall, the accuracy and the transparency of the notebook will reflect the integrity and reliability of the security guard.
It is the security guard’s responsibility to make sure that their notebook is secure (for example, the guard must not leave a notebook unattended in a place where a member of the public could access it). However, the notebook is ultimately the property of the security guard’s employer, so entries should be as legible as possible, with an emphasis on accurate spelling of names and locations.
Reports should stick to factual information and observations, rather than opinions and assumptions, and should contain answers to the following questions:
- Who? (names of suspects, victims, complainants, witnesses, etc.)
- What? (description of what happened, what each person involved did, what evidence is available, etc.)
- When? (time, date, sequential account of what happened from start to finish)
- Where? (location where the incident took place, where each person involved was situated, where evidence was found, etc.)
- Why? (describe the motives for what happened, if they are evident)
- How? (how the incident happened, how each person involved was acting, etc.)
Reports as Evidence
Security guards may receive a subpoena and be called upon to testify in court in relation to a situation they dealt with. They may be asked to recall specific details about the situation, so it is imperative for the security guard to keep thorough and accurate notes. When on the witness stand, the security guard may be permitted to refer to his or her notes. However, the notes should serve as a memory aid only: if the notes are clear, they will help the security guard recall details about a situation, but the security guard should not have to read directly from the notes. As such, prior to appearing in court, the guard should carefully review all notes and try to remember as many details about the situation as possible.
A security guard may on occasion be required to take a statement to secure the information provided by a witness. The key purpose of taking a statement is to ensure an accurate record of the recollection of an event or occurrence by the witness. A statement should be taken freely with no threat or promise made to the witness.
Statement protocols vary from company to company. General good practice is for statements to include the following:
- Full name of the witness, date of birth, identification.
- Employment of the witness and contact information.
- Address of the witness, location of statement.
- Date of interview.
- Time commenced and concluded.
- Name of security guard and company who took the statement.
- An introduction paragraph including day’s events and observations.
- Verbatim (word for word) transcription of the witness’ recollection of the events.
- Closing paragraph that ends the statement.
For example, the closing statement can read:
“I, (witness name), have read the above six-page statement and find it to be accurate to the best of my recollection. I have been advised that I could omit, delete or change any part of the statement prior to signing it.”
As this example indicates, the security guard should give the witness the opportunity to review the statement and ask for changes to be made before they agree to sign it. If a change is requested, a line should be drawn through the item being removed, with the initials of both the witness and the security guard at the beginning of the correction and the end.
- Chapter 7 – Note Taking, Reports and Evidence