To ensure that a report is concluded, and optimal results are achieved, it imperative to employ the rules of narrative writing which act as effective and investigative tools in this regard. The five most critical rules of narrative writing include: writing in the first person, writing in the past tense, writing in the active voice, using chronological order of events, and using concise, clear, and concrete words (Biggs, 2016). These rules are briefly described in the subsequent paragraphs.
For good narrative writing, it is important to use the first person. The rationales for this are very straightforward. The use of the first person not only makes the report clear but also easy for someone to read and understand. While using the third person is the standard when writing college and scholarly settings, it is rather confusing when it coming to writing reports. This is because using a third person makes it very difficult for another person to distinguish who was involved in an incident and who was not, a flaw not present when using the first person.
A narrative is something that happens in the past and it, therefore, follows that it should be written using the past tense. This warrants that the report is accurate and devoid of any confusion. Using the past tense can also be very handy in protecting the reliability of the report in the courts where the accuracy of the report may be tested. For instance, if there are discrepancies in the date of the report and the current state of affairs, the accuracy of the events will be accurate to the extent of the report date.
Since each action is assigned to a particular police officer, police reports must therefore be written in the active voice. This allows the officer involved to verify his/her report in court and confirm its accuracy and relevance. For instance, a police officer may be tasked with explaining before the court who handcuffed the accused in a scenario where many officers were involved (Yu & Monas, 2020). If this information is noted clearly and indicated in the report, the accuracy of the details of arrest will be questioned by the defense counsel or the judge and this might lead to a postponement of the trial until the arresting officer is available to testify.
A police report outlines events as they occurred, that is, from the beginning to the end. This helps the user of such a report to follow through with ease and without any confusion. If there are any additional supporting materials such as text messages and emails, they should also be listed in chronological order. This is to ensure that other people who use such reports can know the exact time and date when the events therein started and when they ended.
The report writer should apply direct explicit language that can be easily understood and should avoid any form of ambiguity. Unnecessary pieces should be omitted and only include the material facts of the incidents, that is, the report must be clear, short, and concise while at the same time ensuring its relevance and accuracy is maintained. Any witnesses’ statements included in the report should be in direct quotes and not paraphrased (Yu & Monas, 2020). Paraphrasing witnesses’ statements may lead to distortion of the original making the statements misleading.
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