- This article is for RoboCop's set of rules. For the TV mini-series, see RoboCop: Prime Directives.
Fundamental to his operational limits were RoboCop's Prime Directives, a set of rules, unbreakable and unbendable, that RoboCop's firmware is bound to uphold.
Upon RoboCop's activation, his directives were as follows:
- "Serve the public trust"
- "Protect the innocent"
- "Uphold the law"
- "Any attempt to arrest a senior officer of OCP results in shutdown"
RoboCop was programmed to be unaware of the fourth directive unless it became relevant. It rendered him physically incapable of placing any senior OCP officer under arrest, but it did not actually shut him down, despite Jones stating it would. OCP Vice President Dick Jones stated that Directive 4 was his own contribution to RoboCop's psychological profile, to essentially grant him absolute immunity to punishment for illegal activities.
The OCP CEO, the "Old Man", after being warned by RoboCop that he was unable to act on Jones, fired Jones from OCP, which nullified the directive. After thanking the president, RoboCop promptly shot Jones, who then fell out the window to his death.
Among these directives were:
- 233. "Restrain hostile feelings"
- 234. "Promote positive attitude"
- 235. "Suppress aggressiveness"
- 236. "Promote pro-social values"
- 238. "Avoid destructive behavior"
- 239. "Be accessible"
- 240. "Participate in group activities"
- 241. "Avoid interpersonal conflicts"
- 242. "Avoid premature value judgements"
- 243. "Pool opinions before expressing yourself"
- 244. "Discourage feelings of negativity and hostility"
- 245. "If you haven't got anything nice to say don't talk"
- 246. "Don't rush traffic lights"
- 247. "Don't run through puddles and splash pedestrians or other cars"
- 248. "Don't say that you are always prompt when you are not"
- 249. "Don't be over-sensitive to the hostility and negativity of others"
- 250. "Don't walk across a ball room floor swinging your arms"
- 254. "Encourage awareness"
- 256. "Discourage harsh language"
- 258. "Commend sincere efforts"
- 261. "Talk things out"
- 262. "Avoid Orion meetings"
- 266. "Smile"
- 267. "Keep an open mind"
- 268. "Encourage participation"
- 273. "Avoid stereotyping"
- 278. "Seek non-violent solutions"
Unable to take any police action due to the number of conditions he had to satisfy, RoboCop became totally ineffective. When his maintenance staff was unable to find a way to remove the directives without killing him, RoboCop chose to electrocute himself, the only possibly survivable option, deleting all of his directives and leaving him free to act completely on his own judgement for the first time since his initial death.
Later, the directives were reinstalled, with directive 4 as "Never oppose an OCP officer" but directive 4 was deleted by Dr. Marie Lazarus by unknown means, so that RoboCop could avenge Anne Lewis' murder by OCP.
Later, a fourth directive was instated by a saboteur: "terminate John T. Cable."
Later, all his directives were erased, but RoboCop stated to his son that he would do "What I do: Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law," noting that he would keep his directives by his own will, not through the imposition of programming.