Police reports are integral to crime-solving

Dear Editor,
The writing of reports by the Police is integral to crime- fighting and the solving of many civil and criminal matters. Many cases have gone down the chute as a result of poor reporting, or none at all. This is a major bugbear in the crime-fighting story of our Caribbean society, and I am making an emphatic call for this matter to be addressed speedily. There are simple matters that have gone abegging due to the lack of independent reporting from peace officers.
A report from the Police is information coming from the only independent witness in the matter, and is crucial evidence into the solving of the case. Otherwise, it would be a shouting match of he-said-she-said matter, with no end in sight. This makes the work of the judiciary more difficult to arrive at a just and fair conclusion.
Being a peace officer, it is your duty to report and act in a just an impartial way, and writing up your report in a detailed and accurate manner is critical to any case. A well-written report gives a thorough account of what happened, and the safest way in doing this is to stick to the facts; it is vitally important.
Remember, either party has a story to tell, and either would be eager to put forward his or her case in the way that would make them look good in the eyes of the judicial adjudicator. Therefore, the Police who had arrived on the scene must stay clear of being prejudicial or impartial in his reporting, this makes for easy crime-solving of any matter.
Then there is the situation in which someone refuses to consent or sign a Police report. That is okay, but that individual would be hard pressed to explain to the judge what was the basis for their refusal to consent to a report. This would hinder as well as hurt their case, because things are fresher in one’s mind then than weeks and months later.
Examples of this kind show up in domestic violence matters or other sensitive cases in which politics is involved. In such instances, the victim refuses to give a statement. However, all of this changes when, either for political mileage or financial reward, a person suddenly becomes lucid. But, like I said earlier, this strategy oftentimes hurts rather than helps one’s case.
We have come to the point in our discussion where there is the general reservation as to the writing skills of the lawmen. How proficient are they in their writing? Are they up to the task when it comes to writing a proper report? Can their writing stand up in a court of law? These are all legitimate questions we may ask, and to which we deserve honest answers.
This matter can be corrected if only the powers that be take the bold initiative to have their officers trained and certified in the writing of reports. I am willing to give back to my country through a national service by which I can help in the strengthening of the Force’s writing skills’ capabilities. It is something I am seriously considering as I approach my retirement year.

Neil Adams