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Negotiation in a Nutshell

NCJ Number
Crime & Justice International Volume: 23 Issue: 97 Dated: March/April 2007 Pages: 31-34
London Howard
Date Published
March 2007
4 pages
This article presents a brief review of the hostage/crisis negotiation process.
Hostage/crisis negotiation emerged from responses to hostage taking and kidnapping for ransom. Initial hostage negotiations included an army of personnel and weapons that would assault the hostage takers location, overpower them, and rescue the hostages. This became known as assault and rescue. As time went on, assault and rescue teams got smaller and more efficient. Tactical teams began to slow down their assault and rescue mission in order to gather information and perfect their plans, especially when many innocent parties were in or near the crisis site. It was soon learned that time could alleviate many crisis situations and that time could also increase the options of responses available to law enforcement officers. Currently, nearly all law enforcement response to crisis negotiation involves the establishment and maintenance of control over officers and the situation. Negotiation principles include early assessment of the situation, and whether assertive methods would resolve or escalate the situation. Bartering with the offender is distinguished from intervention efforts and the principles of negotiations are described, which are: (1) introductions; (2) demands; (3) deadlines; (4) rapport with the hostage takers or persons in crisis; (5) relationships with hostages or victims; and (6) communications ideas. The author explains that many hostage takers or people in crisis are simply responding to a bad situation and would welcome a way out. Rapport can go a long way toward peacefully resolving a hostage/crisis situation.


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