Hostage crisis negotiation

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Rational, Reassurance and Trust

Rationale in negotiations entails many things, both about the negotiator and the hostage-taker. Using this element of negotiation basically involves reasoning with the hostage taker and letting them see the sense in doing things in a different manner and establishing the reason for taking the hostages (Barker, 2014). In my negotiation strategy, I will mainly involve active listening in order to understand the needs of the hostage taker and know how to respond to them. The negotiator will engage the hostage-taker in a conversation without making him think the negotiator only wants to save the hostages and disregard what he/she is demanding. I will require the main negotiator to first acknowledge the demands of the hostage-taker and make them look very valid. This will be done through availing some of them and promising to avail others in the course of the discussion or upon the release of the hostages. The negotiating team can also acknowledge the demands through encouraging the hostage-taker to continue talking using appropriate encouragers (Barker, 2014).

Apart from that, the negotiator should try to establish the main reason for the decision to take the hostages. Every hostage-taker always has a reason for his/her decision. Most of the times, they demand to be given ransom and sometimes they ask for other favours before setting their hostages free. Knowing these particular reasons is usually crucial in helping the negotiating team decide what to do in order to have the hostages freed. In my crisis negotiation strategy I will involve my team in carefully interrogating the hostage-taker about what he or she wants before he/she can release the hostages. In the process of interrogating them, the negotiator should be careful with the questions because a slight slip of the tongue may make the perpetrators think that the negotiator only cares about the hostages and not them. Once this happens, they may stop cooperating with the negotiator and even become violent. Therefore, the negotiator should not ask personal questions or those that only lean towards helping the hostages. Besides interrogating them, the negotiator should go through the medical records of the hostages-takers in order to establish their state of mind and health in general. A good number of hostage-takers are usually instigated by mental problems and the use of drugs. Some of them are caused by stress and depression emanating from family problems or even national and international problems. As such, solving the crisis will only be possible if the negotiators come up with the most appropriate way of handling these personal problems. My strategy will also establish whether the hostage-takers have any of these problems then develop appropriate solutions based on the hostage-takers’ state of mind.

Reassurance mainly entails making hostage-takers know that they are also loved and cared about. The negotiator shows concern about the demands of the hostage-taker. In my strategy, I will assure the hostage-taker that their lives are safe and that their concerns are being acted upon (Diaz, 2016). Depending on their demands, I will show them evidence to prove that someone is acting on them. In our negotiations, I will show empathy and establish a rapport with them as proof that the negotiation team is concerned and ready to grant their demands. I will also assure them that they will not be jailed if they cooperate with the negotiation team. The element of trust also involves empathy and the establishment of a rapport. Therefore, giving them time to talk and listening to them as they talk will make them trust the negotiating team. The negotiator should encourage them to speak by nodding and giving them encouragers such as “yes” or “go on” (Barker, 2014).

Bradley’s Scenario

I will assure Bradley that he will not be jailed if he frees the hostages unharmed. This will be in response to one of his demands that he should not be arrested. I will let him know that he has been a diligent servant to the nation as a soldier, and the nation cannot arrest him and put him away in return. However, I will let him know that the nation will be ready to jail him if he harms the hostages or does not free them within a given deadline.

Apart from this, I will also assure him that having talked to his wife, she assured me that she will end her relationship with her professor and be a loyal wife she has always been. This is the main reason Bradley decided to take her hostage. I believe that once this is settled, Bradley will be ready to let all the hostages go. If he does not, I will ask him to give the phone to his wife and will convince Susan to assure him that she has never been in a romantic relationship with her professor. I will also ask her to assure him that she will stop being close to her professor or even move to another college in order to end the relationship.

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  1. Barker, E. (2014). 6 hostage negotiation techniques that will get you what you want. Retrieved from: http://time.com/38796/6-hostage-negotiation-techniques-that-will-get-you-what-you-want/
  2. Diaz, L. (2016). Hostage negotiation. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin.
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