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Social psychological dynamics of hostage negotiation: forensic psychology, suicide intervention, police intelligence/counterintelligence, and tactical entry

Gordon James Knowles (Programs of Administration of Justice and Sociology, Honolulu Community College University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 1 February 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review several major components of hostage negotiation including: the different types of hostage situations; the prediction of the behavioral patterns of the hostage taker; the collection and the use of police intelligence in hostage incidents; and the application of forensic psychology during the hostage negotiations process.

Design/methodology/approach

Emphasis on the social psychological aspects of creating attitude change and gaining compliance with the hostage taker are introduced to assist in developing an effective crisis communication approach during the hostage negotiations process.

Findings

The paper also discusses trends in hostage negotiation strategies within incidents of domestic violence, suicide by cop, school shootings, and suicide/homicide bombings.

Practical implications

Limitations and advancements in the field of hostage negotiations are also discussed as well as suggestions for the use of tactical entry to resolve unsuccessful hostage negotiations.

Social implications

Explores the current trend of “suicide by cop,” but also introduces the concept of homicide by cop in relation to police shootings.

Originality/value

The use of criminal psychology in developing hostage negotiation strategies to engage hostage takers with personality disorders, PTSD, paranoid schizophrenia, and suicidal depression is also discussed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina in San Diego, California for the regular session panel on Crime and Delinquency on March 23, 2012. This paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Western Society of Criminology held at the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii for the regular session panel on Emerging Issues in Forensics and Criminal Investigation on February 8, 2014. These research findings were presented at the annual meeting of The Society for Police and Criminal Psychology held at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for the regular session panel on Forensic Psychology on September 19, 2014.

Citation

Knowles, G.J. (2016), "Social psychological dynamics of hostage negotiation: forensic psychology, suicide intervention, police intelligence/counterintelligence, and tactical entry", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 16-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-01-2016-0001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited