What Is a Police Incident Report?

A police incident report documents the factual details of a criminal incident. Written by the police officer(s) who investigate the incident, it describes the who, what, why, when and how of an incident, according to Utne Reader. These reports are used to determine whether criminal charges are filed.

Notes that responding officers take while investigating a criminal incident form the basis of a full police incident report, according to realpolice.net. Police incident reports clearly, accurately and objectively describe the specifics of the incident such as what happened, when it happened and who was involved, from multiple perspectives. The reports also include an itemized list of all physical evidence collected and booked in relation to the incident, states Utne Reader.

Police incident reports are essential to the criminal investigation and criminal justice process, states About.com. Prosecuting attorneys deploy them to determine whether to file criminal charges. Defense attorneys use them to prepare their arguments. Finally, incident reports form the basis of additional investigation of the incident by police in preparation for trial and cross-examination.