As one of India’s top private detective agencies, we consider good Investigative Report Writing as one of the hallmarks of our job. Let us explain to you how we write our reports so that in the future you may require our services, you can rest assured of the top level professionalism that you can expect from us! Good report writing begins with keeping good notes or a log book in chronological order as the investigation of a case proceeds. Information must be neatly compiled, arranged and analyzed in corresponding categories so that the report is comprehensible and logical.
On every case, we supply four basic list and types of investigative reports and each of them have a different purpose:
1. Preliminary Report
The initial report is prepared within the first few days of an investigation and explains how the case was opened and what our investigators and operatives did in the first few days of the investigation.
2. Progress Report
The Progress report is a follow up report which states what has been done or learned since the previous progress report. A progress report is an ongoing report and will continue to remain so until a final report is prepared and submitted.
3. Final Report
The final report as the name suggests states the outcome of the investigation. A final report states that all avenues of investigative work has been probed and conducted and that the client has decided to conclude the investigation.
4. Supplemental Report
The Supplemental report creates a record of incidents that may have occurred after the case was closed such as a court action or the discovery of new leads and evidence.
Let us now get into more detail into the specifics of a Preliminary Report in the context of private investigators.
The Preliminary Report
This report describes the purpose of an investigation, all the information that has been provided so far by the client, what we did at the very beginning of the investigation and what we concurred from our initial activities. The Prelim Report also identifies work that remains to be conducted such as locating and interviewing witnesses and obtaining public documents. The preliminary report is usually written within the first few days of starting work on a case.
In cases that involve a crime, it may have been investigated by the police and may have moved from the police or law enforcement division to the prosecuting agency. In a scenario such as this, one will have no “hot” crime scene to search (we do visit the scene of the crime to obtain an orientation) and one will have no chance or hope of speaking with crime witnesses whose knowledge of the facts surrounding the case is fresh in their minds. Whatever may be the case, our best chance of obtaining crucial information on which the success of the cases hinges upon, is best procured during the preliminary stage of an investigation.
Our initial report begins with a brief opening statement in which we identify the client, the client’s lawyer, basic details of the case, information provided by the client and the investigative services required of us. An opening statement might read like the one below:
On June 23rd, 2014, This investigator was contacted by Mr. Navin Prasad who stated that on May 25th, he was charged by the public prosecutor of the Mumbai High Court for involuntary manslaughter in the matter of the death of Mrs. Shalaja Rane, a pedestrian killed by a hit-and-run motor vehicle at the junction of Veera Desai Road and Link Road Andheri at 6.20 AM, on May 27th of this year. Mr. Navin Prasad stated that he was not the driver of the alleged vehicle and that he wished to retain our services in order to conduct an investigation and collect evidence to refute and disprove the charge. Attached to the preliminary report are a copy of the charge against Mr. Prasad and a copy of the Mumbai Police accident report.
The preliminary report can continue with a narrative description and synopsis made by our investigator-in-charge. For example:
At 10.30 AM June 24th, I met with Inspector Raju Sonavane of Oshiwara Police Station. Inspector Sonavane was in charge of the traffic investigation team and the person who prepared and signed the traffic accident report for this case. Inspector Sonavane confirmed that the copy of the accident report in my possession which was handed to me by Mr. Navin Prasad was a correct copy of the accident report on file. During my conversation with Inspector Sonavane, he told me that a lot of accidents involving pedestrians have happened at that particular spot in the past. The report prepared by Inspector Sonavane does not mention this fact. When I brought it to his attention, Inspector Sonavane told me that traffic accident report form does not have any area for filling up such details. He then asked me to leave.
After meeting with Inspector Sonavane, I proceeded to the police records section and over the course of two hours, I managed to locate three prior reports of pedestrian fatalities that had at the intersection of Veera Desai Road and Link Road over a period of one year prior to the Shalaja Rane fatality. Copies of those reports are attached.
At 3.00 PM, I met with Police Detective Amir Shaikh of the Special Investigation Bureau. Mr. Shaikh was identified in Inspector Sonavane’s report as the detective-in-charge of the criminal investigation that followed the accident investigation. In Detective Amir Shaikh’s report, it was concluded that Mr. Navin Prasad was the driver of the automobile that hit and killed Mrs. Rane. Shaikh refused to talk to me any further saying that Inspector Sonavane had already discussed the matter with him. He also said that according to departmental policy, talking to private detectives was not allowed.
The preliminary report may also identify investigative leads to be followed and investigative actions that are yet to conducted. For example, the need of the hour might be to find an eyewitness named in the traffic accident investigation report but who had not been interviewed by the police. The ending of the preliminary report might state:
I have scheduled a meeting with Mr. Ashok Sharma for June 29th. He has been identified in the accident report but so far there has not been any record of him being interviewed by the police. It has been raining heavily in Mumbai and since the accident occurred before the onset of the seasonal monsoons, photos of the accident scene will be taken at a time and when weather and lighting conditions are right. Investigation to be continued.
Our series on the rest of “Investigative Report Writing of Private Detectives” will also be continued later!
Amit Sen is the founding partner of Alliance One – who are among the best private detective agencies in Mumbai specializing in providing thorough pre matrimonial investigation services in Mumbai among other private and corporate investigation services. Amit is also a trained pilot and an aviator and likes to remain grounded on the days when he is not flying high.