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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76456 Find in a Library
Title: Hostage Negotiations - Options and Alternatives (From Clandestine Tactics and Technology - A Technical and Background Intelligence Data Service, Volume 2 - See NCJ-77150)
Author(s): H H A Cooper
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 68
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Characteristics of hostage-taking and kidnapping situations are compared, the mechanics of negotiations are detailed, the selection of a negotiating strategy is discussed, and the characteristics of the successful negotiator are considered.
Abstract: In hostage situations, the hostages function as living shields for the hostage taker, as bargaining elements for obtaining various types of ransoms, and as a means for the hostage taker's escape. During the hostage situation, the perpetrator is isolated, experiences difficulty in converting the hostages into desired rewards, faces difficulty in safely leaving the scene, and is limited by his or her physical and psychological endurance. Both sides have an interest in maintaining the hostage as a live victim. Victims experience considerable danger at the beginning of the action. Danger declines through negotiations, then increases as the value of the hostage declines. In the negotiation process, neither side truly wishes to negotiate, and negotiations are based on expediency for both parties. The hostage taker must always be provided with an inducement to negotiate. Negotiating policies may be either hard or soft line, depending on the degree of compromise allowed. The degree of flexibility desired depends on the number and importance of the hostages, the perpetrator's mental state, group affiliation and nature, limitations on the hostage taker's resources, and the hostage taker's capacity to do damage. Taking an initial hard line stance may force the perpetrators to prove their intent by killing hostages. Successful tactics depend on the ability to establish communications and control the negotiation process. Perpetrator demands range from cash ransoms to the release of political prisoners. Negotiators should be chosen based on their ability to communicate, physical and mental states, courage, patience, capacity to monitor their own performance, and authoritative appearance. Negotiators should be given considerable discretion; intervention by the highest levels of authority should always represent a last resort. In determining whether to honor bargains, officials should bear in mind the effects which reneging on agreements might have on future hostage situations. Footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Hostage negotiations; Hostage takers; Hostages
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