Police Use of Deadly Force in the Philippines
Comparing Levels and Patterns Before and Since Duterte
This article provides a detailed analysis of pre-Duterte and Duterte police use of deadly force in the Philippines. It first develops a set of indicators that allow for assessing the magnitude of police use of deadly force in “armed encounters”, its relation to the threat environments in which the police operate, and the lethality of such violence. Then, based on a self-developed dataset for the pre-Duterte decade and the ABS-CBN dataset on Duterte period police killings, it establishes the past and current patterns of police use of deadly force. The analysis shows that in the past decade as under Duterte inter-provincial spatial and temporal variation of police use of deadly force has been very high. Differences in the threat environment play only a minor role in explaining this variation. Differences in sub-national units’ reactions to the Duterte campaign mirror those in police use of deadly force during the earlier decade, signaling strong path-dependency. Lethality-levels have been outstanding in both periods despite dramatically differing levels of lethal violence. Clearly, Philippine police tended to shoot-to-kill already before Duterte granted them a carte blanche.
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