The POP is a reference manual on the different aspects of police operations to establish standard for the requirements of a rights-based, proper, effective, and legal police operations such as scene of crime operations (SOCO), investigation, intelligence, special police operations, internal security operations, law enforcement, and public safety operations.
The March 22, 2014 Editorial of the Philippine Inquirer has been unkind to the Philippine National Police with its article, “idiots in the force” regarding the need for a Revised Police Operational Procedure (POP) which was written as a must knowledge for the police force. There was a miscommunication on the term, “idiots guide”.
The POP is not a secret document that is available only to the police force, it is available to the public and it was reviewed by the Commission on Human Rights to ensure that human rights are protected and empowerment of the people towards protecting their rights in any kind of police operations.
Why empowerment of the people?
The PNP trainings (mandatory and specialized courses) and it’s processes are not open to public unless one would like to check and see what the modules are and what are the requirements to pass the course. The qualification of a police officer was made known to all by Senator Miriam Santiago when she said, “a college degree is required to become a police officer, but it is not required to become a Senator or even President”.
The performance of the police officer is basically subjected to many perceptions of how the police officer should do his or her job. The trouble with law enforcement or police work is that there are many masters in this kind of job and everybody is telling the police how to do the job. Was there a time anyone told the dentist how to extract teeth or a surgeon how to operate on the patient?
The POP would be a reference not only for the police officer as he leaves the training institution and perform his job and those police officer who may have forgotten some technicalities, but the POP is also the reference point for the people to see if the police is following the standard and requirements of police operations.
By knowing what are the requirements and the procedures, the people can demand not only transparency but also accountability and responsibility from police officers. Both the PNP and the people or the public can understand the basic tenets of police operations and it’s legal implications through the Revised Police Operational Procedures and in case of conflict shall serve as the reference document for the actions of the PNP supported by legal mandate.
Any violations thereof can therefore be clearly understood and anything less than standard can be a cause of action not only from the PNP leadership but from the people whom they swear, “to serve and protect”.