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As actors come in with suspects and out from crime scenes, they file investigation reports as necessary documents. Just what do these reports hold, and how are they made? To find out more about an investigation report, including its definition, components, and construction, read through the article below. It also holds frequently asked questions that come in handy in learning more about these documents.
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What Is an Investigation Report?
An investigation report is a document detailing the findings of an investigation. It follows after the filing of a formal complaint or the occurrence of an incident. In the investigation report, the police or investigators’ primary purpose is to locate and gather precise information and evidence. It is also their responsibility to recover particular files with the corresponding date and time stamps. The written records are impartial. Unbiased because it comes from proof and data collection on-site and not based on opinions of the responding body. The writing of the investigation report comes with the intent to be used in the court of law. The document must be sample brief with a focus on the objective or smart goal of the investigation. The aim of the overall process lies with the client. The client can be internal or another investigator or lawyer on the case. Ensure that the investigation report centers and specifies the purpose of the investigation.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in December 2020, the FBI released a detailed data collection of nearly 7.7 million reported criminal offenses from the 2019 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). It also includes data about the victims, known offenders, and related transgressions with 23 categories.
Components of an Investigation Report
Writing investigation reports does not need to be complicated. Having a uniform and standardized structure improves the accuracy and consistency of write-ups. It also provides a format to follow that lessens the time spent on preparing the investigations reports. Below is a list of the information that must reflect on any investigation report.
How to Write An Investigation Report
At this point, the workplace investigator begins compiling the investigation report with time, documents, and interview outcomes that have no doubt accumulated. Bringing all of the evidence effectively into a quality investigation report poses a challenge. It is helpful to divide the tasks into a detailed step-by-step process for a workplace investigation report to result in a necessary and professional record.
Step 1: Take Time to Revise the Brief
Before the compilation of all related evidence to the investigation report, guarantee that it meets the standard Terms of Reference (TOR). Establishing the TOR at the beginning of the investigation between the person under investigation and the employer, identifying the related people, and the queries and tasks relevant to the investigation must be the priority. With the TOR in mind, the workplace investigator must check out the list to know if all necessary investigation aspects are complete.
Step 2: Start Preparing the Draft
Investigation reports must be well-planned and logically organized. Using the Terms of Reference and the collected evidence, the investigation worker must already write out and double-check the preliminary findings. For example, a prior verdict that went through all the necessary methods is proven true. Ensure that it still goes through another process of fact-checking relevant to the incident to guarantee that the available materials truly support the findings of the case. It is also necessary to note the issues of a fair policy and procedure, such as including all the appropriate witnesses.
Step 3: Write with the Idea of Future Referencing
Any well-structured investigation report contains one or two key features. First is the format. It must be comprehensive and sequential, with a simple and understandable index of the report’s body and the appendix. The purpose of the investigation report is for the employer to get a clear picture of the incident and what related findings are made available. Using general words instead of jargon or hifalutin words is mandatory and ensures the table of content. Second, make the report as brief as possible. It must center on the general four components of the investigation report, along with appendices. An objective and neutral language must be present throughout the length of the document to establish the strict observation of procedures in the entirety of the task.
Step 4: Guarantee a Logical Sequence of Ideas
The components of an investigation report can be further divided into four main groups to ensure there is a logical flow to the document that is comprehensive and easy to understand. The four parts are the overview, findings, evidence, and the conclusion and recommendations. The overview contains the introduction that gives a brief description of the events and processes involved in the workplace investigation. It must also hold a summary of the TOR, an accurate timeline of the investigation activities. The first section must give an initial idea of the events preceding the creation of the report.
The findings section must include all relevant data to support the allegations. By placing the findings just after the overview, it creates understandable and user-friendly content. List down all declarations along with a brief statement to whether or not there is satisfaction based on evidence. The third section describes all available evidence related to the allegations in question. It must refer readers to the appendices to easily access the reference to particular evidence. Guarantee that each section has related documents and avoids emotive language to assure fairness. In the summary and recommendations, a synopsis of the investigation and the outcomes are present. Include any additional information or references as requested under the TOR. These must be numbered and direct to the findings available within the report.
Why is it necessary to write an investigation report?
An investigation report is commonly seen and used in the department of the police report and other law enforcement offices. However, it is not only at these places that investigations happen. Some companies have their specialists to resolve any issues or disputes within the company. These may be in the form of employee or managerial complaints, minor flaws, or company violations. Each problem must undergo solving and investigation according to the company’s policies, and the reports help take preventive measures before the cases implode. Some authorities choose these measures accordingly unless infringement issues break local or state laws.
What are the purposes of creating an investigation report?
Investigation reports serve more than one purpose. For one, it is an essential document that calls for action based on the official findings it presents. It may relate to the termination of employment, corrective action plan, training implementations, counseling sessions, and other actions based on the conclusions. The report also records necessary processes linking to the investigation. It serves as proof that the method used by the investigator is fair, timely, and comprehensive. The information within an investigation report can be used as a citation in any legal action. It is necessary that the report’s details are accurate and detailed and only focuses on the incident that happened. Writing the investigation report also helps with clarifying the investigator’s thinking process and can sometimes aid in uncovering additional inquiries and facts that provide new insights into the incident. It also provides valuable information in helping prevent or lessen similar cases of the incident from happening in the future. Lastly, it implements controlled conditions for the betterment of employees and the organization from previous investigation reports.
What is the difference between an accident investigation report and an incident investigation report?
Incidents happen around the world at any given time. These occurrences happen without warning, and it becomes impossible or hard to prevent. However, through reporting these events, people can eventually find various ways to prevent them from happening. An incident investigation report pertains to any circumstance, may it be good or bad, that occurred requiring an investigation. Meanwhile, an accident investigation report tends to be more exact and stands for any catastrophes that resulted in injuries, damages, and even death. Generally, the writing process of these two reports has no adequate variations, and their construction remains the same.
Any organization must take care of its name, management, and especially its employees. Employees are what makes businesses run, and any form of an incident that happens must be well taken care of through the due process. The company must ascertain that an impartial yet knowledgeable investigator conducts the investigation method. It guarantees that there will be an accurate and unbiased document resulting from the investigation. As these reports help prevent similar events, it is necessary that the basis of the content is on facts and evidence gathered and that these proof went through thorough fact-checking practices. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” Get started with creating investigation reports for your business through the samples above that is available for use and download!