As you can see from previous posts related to Security Officer reports here at www.SecurityOfficerTrainingHQ.com, the ability to write good reports is vital to your success in this field. As you “put the pen to the paper” or “your fingers to the keyboard”, you should always remember the Who, What, Why, When, Where, & How elements of your report. See a great report example here. However, there is one thing you should never include in your reports. (trust me on this one!)
The one thing you should never provide in your report is your personal opinion.
Why?…you ask? Well…your personal opinion can be very valuable in many instances throughout your career, but there are several reasons why it’s never a good idea to put it in writing.
Visual Profiling Is Dangerous …Especially In Writing
For example, when you give your opinion based on your observations, you can quickly be accused of profiling or discriminating against an individual based on their appearance, race, religion, gender, etc.
In addition, you can display unintentional favoritism of one class of people over the next. This can be difficult to explain to others that may have a different opinion.
Many “Rookie” Security Officers use terms like the examples below:
“He looked like a gang banger…”
“He looked suspicious…”
“She appeared to be an alcoholic…”
“The customer looked like he was going to steal…”
“He looked like a child molester…”
Not good! Scratch those from your memory forever.
Factual Reporting Is Always Better
Never forget that Security Officers are expected to report the facts. Factual evidence can never be confused with your opinion…especially in a court of law.
If we were to take the examples above and turn them into “factual reporting”… it would look much different…and much more accurate.
Here’s how it would translate in a report:
“He looked like a gang banger…” becomes “He was wearing a red bandanna across his neck and had multiple tattoos of 13th street barrio on his body.”
“He looked suspicious…” becomes “He was selecting numerous bottles of alcohol from the shelf without even looking at the price.”
“She appeared to be an alcoholic…” becomes “Her speech was slurred and I could detect a strong odor of alcohol on her breath.”
“The customer looked like he was going to steal…” becomes “The customer lifted up his shirt and tried to place the item in his waistband.”
“He looked like a child molester…” becomes “He was hanging out near the parking lot following kids to the bus stop.”
Can you see the difference?
Remember, when you give your personal opinion in a report, it can become evidence that works against you and your employer in the long run. If you stick to just reporting the facts, you can never be accused of “profiling” a suspect nor can you be accused of discriminating against anyone.
Your job is difficult enough without having to deal with issues like that!
And…if I can add…many times…
Saving your opinion… translates into… saving your job!