Observation and Incident Reporting
Observation and Incident Reporting • Use of Senses • Effective and positive observations uses a total of five senses. sight, small, hearing, touch and even taste are the senses that guards rely on for recording information about events.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Factors Affecting Observation • Maintaining a consistently high level of observation is more difficult than it sounds. As the worse enemy of a security guard while on patrol is boredom, keeping keen senses takes practice. Security officers can find themselves in need go good reactive and proactive observations.
Observation and Incident Reporting • The Observation Process • Good observation skills are the officer’s first line of defense. These skills can be developed and improved through practice, such as memorizing and reciting the descriptions of cars/people. Work at remembering the most details as you can about the person or item you targeted for observation. With practice, you will find that you remember an increasing number of details. This skill can be maintained by regularly observing pedestrians and environmental characteristic. Observation includes three components: Noticing, interpreting and recalling. Start the practice of observation by using your senses.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Physical Descriptions • The ability to provide an accurate physical description, whether it is a person, vehicle, backpack or something else, is essential in good security officer work. Some of the basic concepts that dictates a description attempt are: • If you do not recall a detail, state so • Do not try to guess • Less but accurate details are better than more but questionable details • In case of consolidating witnesses account of an event, do not compare or discuss descriptions with anyone.
Observation and Incident Reporting • People • A suspect description is organized from general and obvious criteria to detailed depending on how close and/or how much time the witnesses were able to observe the individual. • The clothing element of the description is of primary importance when the search is immediate and the suspect likely to be identified before he can change clothes.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Vehicle • The description of a vehicle is a lot simpler and can also be done according to the logic outlined in the people description section. • Color • Make • Model • License Plate • Direction of travel • Damage
Observation and Incident Reporting • Property • The description of property varies based on the type of property and whether it bears a serial number or not. • We classify information about property in three categories: • General information • Physical description • Reference information
Observation and Incident Reporting • Note Taking • During a shift, it is important that a security officer make entries into his/her personal log, and if they new also carrying a shift log, to maintain it. • The security officer should save his/her personal log in the event it is ever required to recall past events. • A security log is an important document and can be used to provide a wide range of information, such as: • • Arrival and departure days/times of vendors and visitors • Safety issues • Accidents • Suspicious or criminal activities • Security issues such as unsecured doors It is important to remember that an officer field notes can be used in a court of law.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Report Writing: Who, what , when , where , why and how • WHO: include everyone that was involved or present, including witnesses, police, firemen, and other emergency personnel. • WHAT: be clear about what happened. Start from the beginning, and go point by point or event by event from beginning to end. • WHEN: be specific on identifying where each event happened. Include address, or use details about nearby objects, buildings, etc. , to be as precise as possible • WHY: this is general not as important. In fact, unless you heard someone say something explaining their actions, it’s best not to speculate on people motivations. • HOW: include as much detail as possible about how each event unfolded. Explain what events led up to the incident and how it progressed.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Characteristics of a Good Report • When someone is reading your incident, they should be able to understand what your report talks about no matter their background or experience. A well written report is effective, concise and clear. Cut out useless information and sentences that are very long and ramble. Choosing strong verbs and adjectives helps meet all three objectives. Some examples of strong verbs are: • • Suspect explained… • Victim complained… • Witness detailed… The officer must take into consideration what audience will be reading the report. The audience may be other officers, superiors, state officials, lawyers, judges, victims, families of victims or defendants.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Creating an Outline • The first step prior to writing a report is to review the field notes (person log), thereby ensuring that all the facts are recorded. If fact are missing, such as victim birthday, it is acceptable to collect this information after the fact. • The next step in report creating is to determine the format of the report. Most employers will provide a template, which may be on a computer or even mobile device, for you to use as your base reporting structure. Template can provide a good outline and keeps reporting standardized for all shifts/post, no matter which security officer is on duty or where the post is located.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Creating a Draft • Start the report as soon as possible. Ideally, start to write the report within 24 hours of the incident, and preferable within the same day. The longer you wait- - even a day or two—-the more likely your memory will start to get fuzzy. • Guidelines to creating your report: • Provide the basic facts • The time, date of incident • The location of the incident • Your name and ID number • The officer should record the name of mall parties, including witnesses, victims and official personnel, who were involved in an event that justifies a report, including: personal informations, scarring and tattoos, body piercings, height and weight of each person, and type of clothing. • Write down the basic information of the incident, preferably in first person narrative • Fill in with detailed narrative of exactly what happened, in chronological order, when you reported to the scene • Answer who, what, when, where, why and how • Be thorough, but concise • Do not report anything in first person that you did not see actually happen • Be honest
Observation and Incident Reporting • Polishing the Report • Once the draft is completed, the next step is to ensure that it can be read and easily understood by others.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Importance of Proofreading • Re-reading a report you wrote yourself is an effective method of proofreading.
Observation and Incident Reporting • Submitting the Final Report • Before you submit your final incident report, you will need to find out the name of the person or department to whom your report must be sent. When possible, submit an incident report in person and make yourself available to answer further questions or provide clarification.
Observation and Incident Reporting • The Use of Bullets in Reports • Bullet points can be used to make it easier to read and will draw the reader eye toward important points or content. Bullet points can be a nice addition to a format style as an easy way to communicate the facts as simply and clearly as possible. • Bullets are not good for telling stories, and they are not good describing any relationship between causes and consequences. They are good, however, for giving readers a preview or overview, and for presenting information in a list.
Observation and Incident Reporting • • Shift Logs and Daily Logs • Security guard duties vary by agency and post, but one consistent responsibility is to observe and report events and occurrences that take place on the guard post or patrol. Logs are a key component is the reporting aspect of observe and report and takes on several forms: • Personal log • Shift log or daily activity report (DAR) • Incident report Recordkeeping, Storage, and Use of Computers • Records can be kept the old fashion way with paper forms or more modern processes such as the use of computers.