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Taking notes

You must anticipate, because once the action starts you will not necessarily have time to get enough down. As soon as possible after an incident or arrest (whether your own arrest or someone else's), sit down and write out everything you remember about the incident  particularly details like times, locations, movements, statements or conversations, etc. You will be surprised how quickly you can forget details, and the trial may not be for another year or two.

Download pro-formas for Arrestee/injured Instruction Sheet and Arrest Watch at Support team resources

Observation paper and pen - use them to:

  • Write names of arrested persons and their phone numbers, their friends’ phone numbers, their condition before they disappeared from the scene, the words spoken by police during their arrest, their words, the number of the car or wagon they are put into, etc.,
  • Write down police badge numbers and or descriptions of police involved in the arrest (of those that are aggressive, those who make arrests or are just on the scene, since sometimes there may be testimony from police who were not in fact at the scene at all. Of course, photographs and sound recordings are also useful;
  • Record significant conversations;
  • Record licence plates of vehicles (and/or squad car numbers if police vehicles) and the description and location of vehicles.

If you are witnessing the arrests yourself, take detailed notes of who has been arrested, the numbers or identifying information of arresting officers, times, and any excess force used in the course of the arrest. Be sure to write this out later as a statutory declaration if necessary.