When there is a crime and you call the police to respond, there are a few questions that the police dispatcher will surely ask you. This may seem as if he is taking a bit of your time and may sound unperturbed about your predicaments, he is not. He is only trying to get the right information that will help his men respond adequately without incurring casualty on their side and the side of who they are coming to help.

These are the few questions that you need to answer quickly and accurately.

What happened? Quickly give a good and clear picture of the incident.

When did it happened? Be specific with the time.

Where it happened? Accurate and unambiguous address.

Where you are calling from? The police will like to know if you are at the scene of crime as a victim, witness or someone called by a victim or a witness.

How many were or are they? If it’s possible to know the exact number of the criminals better but where it’s not possible, tell the police the number that you know. The number of criminals is very important to the respond team.

Is anyone injured? Is there any casualty that will require quick medical attention?

Were weapons used? If yes, what type (guns, knifes, clubs or any other dangerous object). The police is not expecting you to know the caliber of the guns but short description or whether short or long gun will help.

Did they come with vehicle? If yes,

What is the vehicle registration? This is not a must answer, because it is not in all situations or circumstances you are privileged to get the exact vehicle registration number.

What is the vehicle description? (make and colour) If you happened to see the vehicle, providing information on the make and colour should not be a problem.

Direction of travel. Which way did they go? Up street or down street?

Description of person(s). (clothing, height, colour, language, sex, age bracket, hair, eyes etc) I must state here that it is not advisable to look into the eyes of a criminal. Don’t try recognize any criminal but just be calm, cool and very observant. Whatever little information that you can provide on their description will go a long way in helping the police.

To ensure that you get adequate and swift response from the police or any other security agency, please be ready to provide as much accurate information as possible. Not that you must provide all the above information but a good percentage of it will help the police burst the crime or arrest the offenders even after the crime.

There have been complaints about the late response or non response of our police to distress calls. The problem may not entirely be that of the police but may be that those calling did not provide the police with accurate and reliable information to enable them respond in real time.

While it may seem like you are being asked too many questions, the information is also for the safety of the responding team. So many policemen and other security personnel have lost their lives due to inadequate information from those in distress. The police is only attempting to garner as much information that will give them get a clearer picture and nature of the incident so as to know what they will encounter when they arrive the crime scene.

Please, remain cool, calm and observant when you are in distress and fully cooperate with the police or any other security agency dispatcher when you call in to report a criminal incident.

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