During your security officer’s shift, the officer is responsible for capturing a substantial amount of information via the many reports that the officer writes. Those reports include daily activity reports, incident reports, maintenance requests, truck logs, and a multitude of other reports. Some would argue that the most important of these reports is the officer’s daily activity report. The daily activity report is the most common of all security guard reports because one is completed by every officer, every shift. Because security officers act as the eyes and ears of the customer, it is critical that your officers provide your customers with relevant and valuable information. As such, it is important that every security officer knows how to write a daily activity report. Here are some tips that your officers can use to provide your customers with quality daily activity reports.
Tips On How To Write A Daily Activity Report That Matters
Tip #1: Branding is important
Every report that your organization provides to its customers should be branded with your company name and logo. By doing this you will help your customers associate your organization with high quality products. Building your brand helps build incredible value for your organization.
Tip #2: Make sure reports are time stamped
When your officers submit your reports every report should be time stamped and contain the location that the report pertains to as well as the officer who submitted the report. This step is critical in maintaining the evidentiary value of the report if it is used in court.
Tip #3: Include shift start notes
At the start of the officer’s shift there are many details that the officer should be recording. The three (3) most important details are: 1) The shift that the officer is working; 2) Any special instructions that the officer receives from the client, or a supervisor (these instructions should also be added to the Pass On Log); and 3) An inventory of the items that the officer receives and the condition of those items.
Tip #4: Make information easy to find
When your officers write a daily activity report they should make it easy for the reader to quickly find the information that they are looking for. If you are using digital reporting, ensure that the officers are specifying the tasks that they are performing. For example, if they are doing an “Employee Escort” that activity should be distinct and separate from their other activities. By setting up the DAR in this way it is easier to quantify the officer’s activities throughout the shift. If you are using handwritten reports, think about having the officer use highlighters to highlight their activities. For instance, incidents might be red while maintenance issues might be blue.
Tip #5: Show consistent activity
Every observation that the officer makes should be accompanied by the time that the officer is making that observation. If you are using daily activity report software, this time stamp will help demonstrate to your customers that your officers are active throughout their shift. In addition, if the DAR turns out to have legal significance an accurate detailing of activities will be important.
Tip #6: Be descriptive
During the course of a shift there are a number of things that officers can add to their daily activity reports. Officers should provide the Who, What, When, and Where for observations that they are making. Keep in mind that the phrase “Made rounds all secure” is unacceptable and demonstrates a lack of effort on the part of the security officer. Even on uneventful shifts the officer’s report can include things like:
- How long it took to complete a patrol
- People that the officer sees or talks to
- What the officer has observed looking out of the window
- Things that the officer hears
Tip #7: The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) Principle
As with many things, the KISS Principle also applies in writing daily activity reports. Unless the officer has won a Pulitzer Prize, officers should refrain from attempting to show off their vocabulary. An officer’s observations should be concise, descriptive, and factual.
Additionally, unless the officer knows something as a fact they should always refrain from stating their opinions or making speculations. The report should contain NOTHING but the facts.
Tip #8: Use common language
Unless instructed otherwise, security officers should refrain from using 10 codes, unfamiliar abbreviations, or any terminology that would make the report hard to understand by a civilian reader. See #7…
Tip #9: Include images
A picture is worth a thousand words. If your officers are using reporting software be sure that they include photos and images as applicable. The officer should also reference the images in the report. The images should include a timestamp as well as an indication of who took the image.
Tip #10: Follow up
In addition to the information that is directly submitted by the officer, information that comes to the officer or the customer after the report is submitted should be accurately time stamped and logged. If you are using paper reports consider using the back of your reports for this information.
Whether your organization has implemented digital reporting or is still using handwritten reports, if your officers understand how to write a daily activity report your reports will be professional. At some point your officers’ reports may be referenced by your customer, lawyers, or law enforcement so make sure they are representative of the quality of your organization.
Note: I hope you found this article on how to write a daily activity report useful, please feel free to share it as necessary. To see an example of an electronic daily activity report please click this link: Daily Activity Report Example
By Courtney Sparkman