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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77068 Find in a Library
Title: Anxiety and Authority - Psychological Aspects for Police in Hostage Negotiation Situations
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:9  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1981)  Pages:35-38
Author(s): G P Davidson
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of mental health resources in police preparation for and implementation of hostage negotiations is discussed.
Abstract: Although the use of a professional psychologist in the training of a negotiating team is beyond question, whether to use psychologists and psychiatrists in the negotiation itself is debatable. This may impose upon the hostage-taker an ego threat and the belief that he is not being taken seriously. Further, the use of a civilian negotiator can disrupt the chain of authority and control established by police in their working relationships, such that uncertainty and ambiguity in policy and authority may affect the negotiations. Any psychologist or psychiatrist consulted by a police agency in a hostage situation should be known to and trusted by both the agency and the hostage-taker. Regardless of who does the negotiating, two negotiators should function as a team. This doubles the eyes and ears receiving important data from the hostage-taker, doubles intellectual effort, allows for psychological distance to be controlled more by the negotiators than the hostage-taker, and provides for a built-in support system for maintaining the stability and motivation of the negotiators. Within the support structure are the negotiators, working directly with the hostage-taker, with their primary link out of the scene to a forward controller, who is physically on the scene and looking after matters so the negotiators can give full attention to the hostage-taker. The forward control is the link back to the area controller, who is in overall command and is responsible for major political, media, and logistical aspects of the undertaking. Recent hostage-taking incidents have profited by the use of psychologists and psychiatrists collaborating to produce likely profiles of both hostage-takers and hostages. These professionals should also be available to help in the handling of the hostages after the incident is concluded. References are provided.
Index Term(s): Hostage negotiations; Hostages; Police hostage negotiations training; Police hostage-negotiation units; Psychologists role in criminal justice; Psychology
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