A falsified officer report can have serious consequences for your clients and your security business. When a security guard or officer provides false information within a client-facing security report, it must be dealt with swiftly.
An incident report has significant legal bearing and any errors, omissions, or outright falsehoods can result in the dismissal of the case. In some cases, it can lead to a lawsuit being filed on behalf of the perpetrator against your company. In the state of California, penal code 148.5 states that anyone who reports a false crime (misdemeanor or felony) & knows it to be false can be charged with a misdemeanor themselves and potentially face up to six months in county jail.
Once the report has been corrected, it is necessary to file it with the client, and with law enforcement. This should be done immediately. Along with the amended report, it is advisable to file a letter identifying the incorrect information filed within the original report and the corrective measures the company has taken. It is a black mark for sure, but it is necessary to accept responsibility and show that the company has taken the proper steps to correct the erroneous security guard report.
It is also advisable to terminate the employee's employment. A false security guard report is one of the most serious offenses a security officer can commit. It is not something that a company can take a chance on. Guards who file a false security report once will likely do it again in the future.
The next step that should be taken is to meet with the company's attorney. The employee will likely face criminal charges of filing a false police report. This does not necessarily mean that the company will face criminal charges, but there does exist the possibility that the client could pursue a civil claim against the security provider. Thus, consulting legal counsel is a wise step that shouldn't be delayed.
Finally, bring the team together and retrain you officers in the proper steps and procedures for filing accurate security reports. Make sure that they have a thorough understanding of the information they must include. During this training, remind them the importance of accuracy, and not including information that is an outright falsehood or extrapolation of known details.
This training should reinforce the basics of security guard reports. Start with the "Five W's:
- Who - Who was actually involved in the incident & who was on the scene at the time of officer arrival? Provide descriptions of all parties.
- What - What exactly happened? Be as descriptive as possible.
- When - Time of arrival & departure for the officer on-shift (use time-stamping whenever possible).
- Where - Include specific details about the property and distinguishable details like lighting, scenery, etc.
- Why - Do not speculate. Try & articulate the motive, but do not guess.
Make sure that the team knows how to identify these each & every time. These details should be included in as detailed a manner as possible. Also, impress upon the team that only known facts should be included within any submitted reports. If they have any questions about the facts of the incident, they should be certain to discuss these with their supervisor prior to filing the official report.
It is also important to go over evidence collection and field recording. This includes training in the use of camera and video technology to capture photos, videos, or audio, as well as the preservation and collection of physical evidence that may be at the scene of the crime.
Employees may file a false security guard report for any number of reasons. Even so, a sharp-eyed supervisor with zero tolerance for this behavior can help protect the business and the strength of any legal actions being pursued against the perpetrator. Without question, swift and decisive corrective measures are the best defense when it occurs.