How to Write an Incident Report, Simplified

The process of how to write an incident report starts with the foundation of facts. An incident report writer should never put in the synopsis of the incident report their own personal opinion, only the facts.

Investigator Aptitude Test


Example of an opinion:

  • “The person was angry and rude.”

Example of facts:

  • “The person was talking at a loud volume, a louder volume than others around. While talking at a loud volume, the person was pacing back and forth using profanities.”

This lets the reader of the incident report report make their own conclusion on the situation without any accidental bias opinion from the writer of the incident report.


If the incident report writer can prove events in an incident report without personal opinions it will make the report a lot more reputable and concrete.


An incident report writer should use non-confirming words whenever applicable:

  • Alleged

  • Appeared

  • Suspected

Example of not using the correct words:

  • JOHN took JANE's room keycard and entered her room and stole her computer.

Example of using correct words:

  • JANE reported that they suspected JOHN of taking their keycard, entering their room and taking their computer. The alleged incident will be investigated.

incident report template

How to Add Correct Details to the Incident Report


It is possible to write an incident report and miss important details.


This is an example of an incident report where important details are not included:

  • At 1015hrs reception notified incident report writer JOHN SMITH of an apparent assault at the lodge.

  • Incident report writer JOHN SMITH interview the reported victim, JACK JOHNSON. JACK JOHNSON reported that MIKE ESPO had struck him in the lodge's gym.

  • Incident report writer JOHN SMITH Reviewed CCTV and confirmed that MIKE ESPO had struck JACK JOHNSON.

This is the same incident report with the important details added:

  • At 1015hrs lodge reception worker, PHIL PRICE reported via radio to incident report writer JOHN SMITH that a lodge guest of room #333 claimed to have been assaulted in the lodge.

  • Incident report writer JOHN SMITH was at the lodge's entrance gate when the assault was reported. incident report writer JOHN SMITH responded and proceeded to the lodge.

  • At 1018hrs incident report writer JOHN SMITH arrived at the lodge's reception desk where PHIL PRICE was located. PHIL PRICE directed incident report writer JOHN SMITH to the reported victim who was present at the reception desk. The victim identified themselves as JACK JOHNSON which was confirmed via ID.

  • JACK JOHNSON reported to incident report writer JOHN SMITH that at 0900 he was in the lodge's gym with a co-worker named MIKE ESPO of lodge room #334, both were employed by Real Construction Inc.

  • JACK JOHNSON stated that they both were disagreeing with the proper method of using equipment. The disagreement resulted with MIKE ESPO striking JACK JOHNSON in the stomach with his fist. JACK JOHNSON stated that he did not respond physically. JACK JOHNSON stated that MIKE ESPO left the gym immediately after the assault.

  • Incident report writer JOHN SMITH reviewed the CCTV for the lodge's gym.

  • On CCTV at 0747hrs JACK JOHNSON is seen communicating with MIKE ESPO in the gym. MIKE ESPO is then seen kicking JACK JOHNSON in the stomach. JACK JOHNSON then falls to the floor. MIKE ESPO is seen leaving the gym immediately after the assault.

These are a few examples of important details that were not included in the first incorrect incident report:

incident report

Read the incident report a minimum of ten times.


Always link events from A to B to C to D etc...


Look for details in the incident report that are missed and are important.


Add specific details to the incident report.


Remove anything from the incident report that is personal opinion.


Create the incident report in chronological order. List the events in order that they occurred.


Add “Need to Know” information and remove non “Need to Know” information:

  • Does the reader of the incident report need to know the victim's location of the assault? Yes.

  • Does the reader of the incident report need to know that the victim was sitting at a chair and drinking a coffee near the reception desk when reporting the assault? No.


Incident Report Template


reporting
Incident Report Template
.pdf
Download PDF • 97KB



About the Author

how to incident report

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years working in security. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous security training programs in various capacities.