A hostage negotiation occurs when a criminal uses innocent people as bargaining chips. The scenarios for these circumstances vary from a desperate mother perhaps who in fear may barricade herself with her own child to a bank robber who utilizes the people around to assist in his getaway. In addition, a more publicized type of hostage situation would be the terrorist type situations where a completely new set of rules must be utilized to deal with these type incidents. For example, a mother may be desperate and reacting in fear.
Most likely this type of person the mind set is not that of a criminal and she has no real intentions of hurting anyone but for the most part is reaching out for a solution of some type. The first job of the hostage negotiator should be to create safety. When a negotiator arrives on the scene there may be several armed officers with emotions running high and general confusion. The environment escalates the fear that is already present in this woman and she is most likely fearful for her life as well as the child or hostage she may be holding.
Brute force would not be the best method to use in this type of situation as the woman most likely is not looking to harm anyone and is actually seeking some way of escape. For the most part the percentage of women who take hostages are considerably lower than that of a male committing the same crime. Upon arriving on the scene, it would be crucial for the negotiator to get organized and establish some sort of communication with the hostage taker to determine what her issue may be.
If the negotiation looks like it might take some time it would be wise to consider a position that would offer some type of permanent accommodation. The next step would be to attempt to determine as much information about the situation as possible. For example, it would be important to know how many hostages and if possible their names. Then it is crucial to determine what they are demanding and from there determine what is it that they are really asking for. Since typically by nature, women tend to be more emotional it would be wise to determine where her frame of mind is at this time.
The questions to consider is whether she is desperate and fearful or are her emotions running high with a sense of hopelessness where she feels she has nothing to lose? Also, if possible it would be beneficial to determine is she under the influence of any type of drug or alcohol as these factors could make the situation much more difficult as it is often times impossible to reason with a person under the influence. Their grasp on reality is greatly altered and what is plain logic will not register plainly to them.
Another type of hostage situation to consider is a terrorist type situation where the person who the negotiator is dealing with is not from this country and then a whole new set of issues would require attention. Most terrorists who apprehend hostages may believe that they are truly doing a heroic act and it is most likely a religious type of motive. It is hard to reason with a person like this without understanding that this person has no fear of death. In fact, they most likely welcome it as they are under the impression that they will be greatly rewarded in the after life because of what they are doing.
In addition, many times when dealing with hostage takers from the middle east they are so despondent as they have lost much in the way of possessions and more importantly they may have lost family members. In the case of these type hostage situations they are not holding the person, for the most part, in a building like perhaps a bank robber type situation. In these cases the hostages are more likely to be picked up from a public place and carried away to another secret location. The hostage takers in turn contact whomever they feel are the appropriate people and from that point make their demands.
For the most part they may provide some type of proof alerting the authorities on the number of people taken and assurance that they are still alive. In these type instances they may appear, and often do, have the upper hand and it is the negotiator’s duty to balance the situation. It is imperative to determine at this point what the terrorists may be asking and if the request if realistic and one that could be honored. From this point the cooperation of several government officials may come into play and the decision on who to contact should be made considerably quick.
Another type of hostage situation would be when an individual from an urban community is the criminal. Many times these people are desperate and will not be open to negotiation. Often times they are determined they will not be caught and their way of life has reduced the respect of other people’s lives, as they have no great respect for own. Another issue that is prevalent in these type situations would be there also may be the involvement of drugs and alcohol so the negotiator may not be dealing with a lucid personality.