6 Uses of Present Simple in Law Enforcement English

Like General English, Law Enforcement English can also utilize English tenses for different situations.

He is a police officer.

She arrests criminals every day.

These are examples of Present Simple. As you know, in General English, we use Present Simple to describe everyday situations, habits, regular actions, laws of Physics, or schedules and timetables. So, Present Simple is all about routines, but what is its situation in Law Enforcement setting?

In Law Enforcement English, there are many cases, when we can use Present Simple: with certain parts of reports(= written, detailed account of a crime, e.g.), warrants (= a formal document issued by a competent magistrate to authorize an officer to make an arrest, a seizure, or a search), criminal profiling, police routines, personal descriptions or describing usual criminal activities, such as modus operandi of criminal groups.

Study these examples:

1. Report:

The witness told me the he knows the suspect.

Reports usually represent a summary of a past event, but as this example shows, sometimes reports can contain Present Simple if they refer to a fact that might still be true.

2. Warrant:

Detective Brandon Smith swears under oath that the facts expressed (…) thereon he has probable cause (=reasonable grounds to believe that a particular person has committed a crime, especially to justify making a search or preferring a charge) to believe and does believe that (…)

3. Criminal Profiling:

The UNSUB (= FBI term for describing unknown suspects) lives alone, and has a car.

Criminal Profiling is all about patterns, which generalize a certain suspect. Generalization is, indeed, an example of Present Simple – just like the sentence: The Sun rises in the east.

4. Police Routines

We have briefings(=meetings before shifts about the day’s operation) in the mornings.

Here, briefings happen systematically, for example, every morning, as a routine. Just like we have breakfast every day, or we meet up friends, there are certain routines in the police profession.

5. Personal description:

The male perpetrator(= offender) has short, red hair.

With personal descriptions, the verb, ‘to have’ is in focus. Think of the following example: He has a car. It is also important to know that if a suspect has ‘a hair’ it refers to one single strand of hair, so make sure to use it like in the example.

6. Criminal activities:

The modus operandi (= the way a criminal, or criminal group operate) of this criminal group is to extort(= obtain (something) by force, threats, or other unfair means.) its potential clients for money.

The MO (modus operandi) is about the usual criminal activity that describes a systematic behavior – again, these methods use the routine that Present Simple is about.

Do you know any other examples? Or are interested in learning Law Enforcement English? Let us know.

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