Role of a Primary Hostage Negotiator during an Incident

Hostages refer to the act or rather as the situation of taking an individual or a group of people captive for tangible or instrumental reasons. The reasons that would lead to such a situation in most cases would be such as the suspect would demand the respective authorities, or rather the police to meet specific needs including money, ransom and either transport (Vecchia, Van Hasselt & Romano, 2015). In other cases, it has gone to the extent of a national issue by holding captives of foreign countries for either the release of other politicians or citizens from the respective countries. The paper is an essay that will base its discussion on the roles that are played by the primary hostage negotiator during the incident.

The primary negotiator under the team structure has numerous roles that would aid in the process of negotiation that in most cases would lead to the solution of the hostage situation. Upon the arrival of the primary negotiator, he or she will announce the report to the scene commander who is typically the judge (Wells, 2015). In his or her full capacity the primary negotiator has the role of debriefing the officers at the scene who originated the call, which after that he or she obtains information as much as possible about the situation before making an attempt of contacting the barricaded subject or rather a hostage taker (Wells, 2015).

The primary negotiator after getting full information makes an attempt of putting the perpetrator at ease, hence making resolutions of the situations imminent. Additionally, the other important role of the primary negotiator is being aware of the following principles that include being conscious of both the non-verbal and verbal language that incorporates active listening that enhances adequate understanding and assimilation of what is said or spoken (Wells, 2015). The other aspect is the feedback that involves giving back information to the person to assure that there was a clear understanding of his or her channeled message (Wells, 2015).

The other role that is played by the primary negotiator is dealing with emotions of the hostage takers in that emotions is believed to be the hallmark of crisis situations or rather hostage situations such as the case of the primary negotiator (Wells, 2015). Therefore, the negotiator has to bring in the aspect of empathy where he suits himself or herself in the situation of the subject by intimately understanding their feelings, thoughts and motives (Wells, 2015).

The primary negotiator also has the role of asking the suspect or rather a hostage taker to give up, encourage the suspect to ventilate which leads to the soliciting of relevant information from the hostage taker (Vecchia, Van Hasselt & Romano, 2015). Through asking general questions to the hostage taker it encourages the ventilation, takes pressure off the negotiator, it encourages the suspect to do the work of talking and lastly specific questions from the primary negotiator leads to concrete answers from the hostage taker (Vecchia, Van Hasselt & Romano, 2015).

Finally, the primary negotiator has a significant role of listening carefully to the hostage taker for reasons such as getting clues as to why the hostage taker decide to take the illegal action. It is also critical for active listening to enable picking up of tactical information from the hostage taker and it also shows the concern of the suspect’s problem hence a solution can be reached that would lead to the release of the hostages. If things are not as anticipated by the team, then the secondary negotiator comes in to play his or her roles (Vecchia, Van Hasselt & Romano, 2015).



Dealing with hostage situations it is of much concern to put into consideration the team structure and follow the procedure to reach the best solution possible. From the above discussion, we get to understand the roles of the primary negotiator who comes in before any step can be taken to combat the hostage taker or rather the suspects. The primary negotiator has numerous roles such as getting information from the suspects and the reason as to why they take people hostages with an approach that would lead to the anticipated information and tactics that need to contact the hostage taker



Vecchia, G., Van Hasselt, V., & Romano, S. (2015). Crisis (Hostage) Negotiation: Current Strategies And Issues In High-Risk Conflict Resolution.

Wells, S. (2015). Hostage Negotiation and Communication Skills in a Terrorist Environment. Investigating Terrorism: Current Political, Legal and Psychological Issues, 144.