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How to Write a Surveillance Report

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a surveillance report provides details about a particular project, outlining events that occurred during the time of a surveillance. As a security officer or investigator, you may be required to write a report for a manager. It is important to communicate all the facts effectively, so that the report can be understood by the reader. If it is confusing or unclear, the document will be of limited use to somebody else. However, write it according to a simple structure and you can't go wrong.

Read through your surveillance notes, or the notes that have been provided to you. Get an overview and an understanding of what the report discusses, so you are prepared to write it.

Collect all additional information that needs to be included in the report, such as videotape footage, photographs, copies of passports or driver's licenses of the people mentioned, if the report demands it.

Plan the surveillance report first. You need a section containing each of the following details: who, where, what, when, why, how. Write down each of these headings.

Create a timeline of events. Start with what time the surveillance started and finished. Then, map out what happened across the course of the watch. Draw a line and annotate the information across it. This is a simple version of what happened for somebody to quickly glance at as they read the report.

List the details relating to each of the headings mentioned in step three. This focuses your attention while successfully categorizing the information you have collated. For example underneath "Who," include the names of the people watched in the surveillance or the physical descriptions of them if this information is not available. Also mention the names of officers who surveilled them. Plus, mention victims, witnesses or staff members who were on duty or part of the surveillance. Consider all angles because they could offer useful information later on.

Begin with a surveillance summary. This is a statement that describes the purpose and result of the report. If the surveillance was to see who lived in a certain house state, "During April the newsagent on George Street was surveilled after reports a thief was regularly operating there. As a result Mr. Smith has been arrested. This reports describes the results of the surveillance operation."

Write the report in full. Follow the course of timeline and the information below each of the headings to create a comprehensive narrative. Start with " On X May 2011, Mr. Smith of 5 Handover Street entered the newsagent on the corner of George Street." Then continue to describe exactly what happened next. Essentially the report is a story of what was observed, so include description details such as what he bought or his facial expressions during the surveillance.

Explain in the report how the people surveilled violated laws or regulations. Quote the law that was broken and how. Provide evidence in the report to support all the claims you make.

Attach photographs to the report to support any accusations or facts you included. Other information such a criminal record checks, medical reports or references are different types of documents that are important to include, if relevant.


Verity Jones is an English literature graduate who has been writing for over five years. Her work has been featured in local publications, national parenting magazines and online portals such as You and Your Family, and Mum Plus One. Jones holds a qualification in interior design.

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