Hostage Negotiation Techniques

The Importance Of Hostage Negotiation Techniques

Proper hostage negotiation techniques can mean the difference between saving or losing many lives.  When a hostage situation takes place, it is always considered a worst-case scenario for law enforcement because innocent people are brought into the equation.  There is an elevated risk with armed intervention because the hostage can be harmed by either party.



A skilled negotiator is able to find out exactly what the hostage-taker requires to ensure a peaceful outcome.  This is where hostage negotiator techniques begin and first impressions count.

The Negotiator Arrives

The most important people involved at the scene of a hostage crisis are the commander and the negotiator.  The commander has authority over everything including the personnel.  The negotiator is the person who actually follows through with the hostage negotiation techniques.  These two positions cannot be held by one person because the negotiator has to remain calm and objective.  This is nearly impossible to do if they also had to make commanding orders as well.

One of the most important hostage negotiator techniques is to stall and buy as much time as possible so the commander can come up with a plan to safely remove hostages.  Some questions that negotiators ask when they arrive on the scene are:

Negotiators have to gather as much information as possible to know how to effectively deal with the hostage-taker.  A psychological profile can help determine how the individual will react in various situations.

Objections And Tactics

The longer a negotiator can string a hostage situation along, the better chance there is of a peaceful ending.  Tactics include stalling, pushing back deadlines, asking open-ended questions and redirecting the hostage-taker's attention.

Making The Deal

The deal is what is always seen in movies or on television.  Demands are usually unreasonable and the negotiator cannot simply give in to just anything.  It is their job to slowly chip away at the demands by offering smaller things such as media coverage or transportation as this process continues, the suspects position is slowly weakened.


Why Suspects Take Hostages

Every hostage-taker is different and has their reasoning for what they are doing.  Some are mentally or emotionally disturbed, illogical or suicidal while others just become human shields to keep them out of the firing line of law enforcement personnel.

The most common types of hostage-takers plan their attack.  They are generally well thought out acts by radical political or terrorists groups because they want to achieve a goal.  A highly trained negotiator will quickly evaluate the entire situation and know what type of hostage negotiator techniques to employ to achieve the best outcome.