PNP reminds police probers on new policy on releasing info to reporters
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine National Police on Wednesday sought the understanding of media as it reiterates its current policy disallowing police investigators to give information critical to the investigation of cases handled by the police.
Due to several infractions of PNP’s existing directive, Director General Alan Purisima, PNP chief, strictly reiterated that police investigators are prohibited to divulge information on crime incidents and crisis situations.
Contrary to the practice of media reporters getting details straight from the investigators, whether they are on the scene or at the police station, Purisima stressed that only a designated spokesperson in every local police station in Metro Manila can accommodate media queries for consistency.
Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office chief, told reporters in Camp Crame that the violations of policemen unduly disclosing operational information to the media had become frequent, particularly in Metro Manila.
“If we look at this in small scales, it’s not alarming. But assessing it altogether, we saw some policemen neglecting the directive. So maybe it’s high time that we reiterate existing policies and improve on it,” Sindac said.
The police spokesperson, or formally called as Media Relations Officer, would be tapped by the station commander.
This means, only one officer can speak for a particular criminal investigation to ensure that the details relayed to the media are consistent.
Sindac said in some instances reporters ask any police officer who may have little knowledge of the case and the danger is that the officer may give contradicting facts to media.
Stressing that the reiteration is not meant to suppress transparency, the PNP PIO chief asked the media to understand those policemen in the front line who refuse to give information on crime incidents.
“We are not withholding any information. Ang dinidisiplina lang namin ay ang police, hindi ang media,” he added.
Sindac said Purisima tapped the PNP PIO to design a program of instruction and training module on media relations and public information for lower unit police commanders.
Discussing the limits of information disclosure and good working relationship of police with the media, the seminar for the chiefs of police, station commanders and designated spokesperson will be tentatively held on February 26.