Can’t solve crimes? Read ‘idiot’s guide’
MANILA, Philippines—An “idiot’s guide” to police operational procedures was launched Wednesday to help investigators avoid lapses that could undermine efforts to solve crimes.
“You may consider it an idiot’s guide, which means we simplified everything for our policemen to understand the operational procedures,” Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima said, referring to the Revised Police Operational Procedures Manual 2013 Edition.
The manual, for instance, tells PNP personnel the proper procedures to follow when there are police encounters.
It reminds them to preserve the crime scene by preventing curious onlookers (usisero) and journalists from getting too close, and from contaminating the area and the pieces of evidence.
Purisima said policemen should be able to preserve “the credibility of the investigation.”
Stick to facts
The PNP chief said the manual also included a reminder to policemen to stick to the basic facts when giving interviews to media men about a crime, and not include their opinions or conjectures when it comes to a suspect’s motives.
Purisima said the PNP had decided to revise its operational manual following several lapses in police operations.
He said the operations officers of police stations were tasked with disseminating the revised manual to their people on the ground.
“We reminded them to simplify everything,” Purisima said, adding that operations officers could translate the manual into Filipino or a dialect the policemen prefer.
In a phone interview, Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor, spokesman for the PNP chief, said the manual emphasized the role of the police force to “serve and protect” the public while adhering to the principles of human rights as they carry out their duties.
Mayor said the December 2013 edition of the police operations manual was an updated version of the March 2010 manual.
“We learned from past experiences that put us under public scrutiny. We included these lessons in the manual for our policemen on the ground so that they would avoid repeating these mistakes,” Mayor said.
These included the lessons from the January 2013 Atimonan, Quezon province, shooting incident that left 13 people dead, including a ranking police officer.
The National Bureau of Investigation has learned from soldiers who augmented the police team at the Atimonan checkpoint that police officials allegedly tampered with evidence to make the killings look like the result of a shootout, when it fact it was a rubout.
“From this incident, we included guidelines on police defensive roadblocks,” Mayor said.
Nonetheless, there are PNP practices that have been effective and reiterated in the manual.
Mayor said these practices included the procedures followed during demolitions wherein the police meet with stakeholders.
The PNP printed some 70,000 copies of the revised manual that is a little over 100 pages. They will be distributed nationwide.
Policemen can also access the manual online, which is guarded by a password that would only be made available to them.
Mayor said the PNP leadership planned to conduct an exam on the manual that would be a requirement for promotion. “We’re still discussing this concept.”
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