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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74498 Find in a Library
Title: Examination of the Need for Trained Negotiators in Hostage/Siege Situations
Author(s): S T Nicholson
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 16
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Information important to the efforts of trained negotiators in hostage or siege situations is reviewed, based on profiles of three types of hostagetakers: the criminal, the psychotic, and the terrorist.
Abstract: Criminals usually take hostages as a last resort and are often the least difficult to deal with, while psychotics are less predictable and may derive pleasure from the attention they receive. Terrorists present the most difficult of hostage situations. They generally have clearly defined goals and limits as to what they are prepared to do. Most terrorists are between the ages of 22 and 25, are unmarried males, long-term city residents, and university educated. Moreover, they are from the middle or upper classes, and their parents are of liberal political outlooks. The terrorists' ideological tendencies lean towards anarchism, Marxist-Leninism, or nationalism. The negotiator should always be aware of the psychological stresses to which the hostage can be subjected. Emotional bonds are often formed between the hostage and the captor, as evidenced by the Stockholm Syndrome, and these bonds may help to save the hostages' lives in that captives who are locked away or bound and blindfolded seem less human to captors who, therefore, find it easier to kill them. Negotiators should encourage interaction between captives and captors through health checks and discussions. The most effective negotiators are persons of sufficient status to impress the hostagetakers; they are mature, physically fit, mentally alert, outgoing, capable of verbal persuasion, and experienced in interrogative techniques. Their tactics include the initiation of delaying actions to allow time to find out information on both captives and captors, and the identification of the ultimate point to which either side would be willing to agree, as well as the common grounds between the hostagetaker and the negotiator. A network of trained negotiators is recommended. Brief background information on current terrorist organizations is presented, and a 10-item bibliography is included.
Index Term(s): Hostages; Negotiation; Police hostage-negotiation units; Terrorist profiles
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