Wayne Rooney plays soccer for Major League Soccer’s DC United. On December 16 he was arrested at Dulles International Airport for public intoxication. You can read the full story at this link.
Here’s the report:
- This is a professional police report – objective, accurate, grammatical.
- It could be more concise. You don’t need to repeat the date and time – you’ve already entered that information into the form on your laptop.
- “Individual” is vague. Rooney is a man.
- Many details could be condensed. Here’s a wordy excerpt from the report:
I approached the individual and asked what happened, and in his broken English he stated he went through the door at the bottom of the stairs because he thought it was a lift. The subject provided a United Kingdom passport and the the individual was identified as Wayne Mark Rooney.
Here’s a suggested rewrite:
The man told me his name was Wayne Mark Rooney. He showed me his passport. He told me that he went through the door at the bottom of the stairs because he thought it was a lift.
The first version is 50 words; the second is 37. That doesn’t sound like much – but when you think about all the reports you write in a year, those unnecessary words add up!
- Some of the language in the report is old-fashioned police jargon: the individual, subject.
- There are three instances of passive voice:
Mr. Rooney was placed under arrest for public intoxication
the individual was identified as Wayne Mark Rooney
Mr. Rooney was transported by Cpl. Spina
It’s more professional to write “Wayne Mark Rooney gave me his name” and “Cpl. Spina drove Rooney to….” The “was placed under arrest” sentence is a particular problem. Who arrested him? What if there are questions about the arrest in a future court case? The officer’s name should be included in the report.