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What hinders or facilitates successful crisis negotiation Logan, Matthew H.

Abstract

Referred to as "law enforcement's most effective non-lethal weapon," crisis negotiation is used successfully around the world but the elements that lead to success have been presented based on anecdote and impression. The present study attempts to analyze the critical incidents within law enforcement responses to barricaded subjects and suicidal persons and determine what facilitates or hinders success in crisis negotiation. Flanagan's (1954) Critical Incident Analysis methodology was used to investigate how police crisis negotiators "build bridges out of barricades." A total of 717 critical incidents were collected. Fourteen categories emerged from an inductive study of the incidents reported by the 22 participants. The results indicate that the following factors can contribute to either successor failure: Teamwork, active listening, relationship building, logistics, building a bridge, leadership, learning and development, using intuition, negotiator's personal resources, providing information and direction, support, and time. The results also indicate that success in crisis negotiation can be hindered by the subject's orientation and the subject's behaviour. These are elements that can clearly be influenced by the negotiator but are outside of his/her direct control. There was a strong emphasis on teamwork and the need to strive toward synchronizing the effort of command, tactical, and negotiation units to form a unified crisis response team. The dominance of this category seems to emanate from the continued presence of tension between these units and the desire of negotiators to present a unified presence so that a bridge can be built from chaos to a calm, safe environment.

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