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Road to Balcombe Street: The IRA Reign of Terror in London, Part II

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: 2008 Pages: 161-285
Steven P. Moysey Ph.D.
Date Published
124 pages
In this part two of a two-part issue, a comprehensive account of the hostage-taking incident at Balcombe Street in London in 1975 is presented, as well as the successful and peaceful efforts to secure the release of the victims and surrender of the perpetrators, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), Active Service Unit (ASU).
In December 1975, a hostage negotiation episode occurred in London. The hostage takers were four members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) that made up an Active Service Unit (ASU), sent to Britain by the IRA’s General Headquarters. They were sent to wreck havoc on the capital. Their mission was to force the government of Harold Wilson to pull out the British troops from Northern Ireland and allow the six counties of Ulster, controlled by the British, to integrate with the Republic of Ireland. Their mission was part of a struggle that dated back over 200 years. This issue (part two) continues from where part one left off with an overview of a 6-day siege and hostage-taking at Balcombe Street in London in December 1975. It examines the state of mind of the hostage takers and the hostages during the stand-off, and particularly the terrorists’ psychological motivations for their actions and what drove them to stay the course and resist the negotiation tactics employed by the London Metropolitan Police (the Met). The style of resolution of this hostage taking episode has become a classic example throughout the democratic world for police procedure at such difficult and sensitive incidents. Figures, references and list of Web sites