Crises Negotiation Tactics

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2394, Vol. 204, No. 9

Authorised Eyes Only

Crises Negotiation Tactics
Author: Jarred Thoran

Table of Contents


The aim of this document is to provide a point of reference for Starfleet personnel regarding negotiations with hostile elements. This article attempts to categorise the situations which personnel may find themselves involved in as well as provide a basic strategies on how to deal with them.

Types of Crises

Whilst every situation is different, the types of crises generally fall into a few categories, which are outlined below.

  • Criminal elements pre plan the use of hostages as part of a robbery. This drastic plan is very rarely used, often only being used in a high stakes situation, where escape would be almost impossible without the use of hostages.
  • More frequent is a robbery where the criminal elements fail in their primary objective. Often security services respond quicker than predicted, leaving the perpetrators trapped. To create leverage and bargain for their escape then hostages may be taken.
  • A politically or religiously motivated element may take hostages to generate media coverage. These are typically the most dangerous situations as the perpetrators are often quite willing to die for their cause.
  • Prisoners planning an escape may include hostages in their plans, knowing they have virtually any other leverage in their escape

Crisis Response

  1. Secure the perimeter – The first priority when arriving on scene is to contain and isolate the hostile element. The perimeter should be large enough to allow teams to move freely, whilst being small enough to control. It may be necessary to create multiple perimeters.
  2. Scene control - Life carries on despite you having to manage a crisis situation. It will be necessary to work around the surrounding community and where possible having the surrounding community to work around your needs. Directing medical services, controlling local traffic, dealing with the media and keeping the surrounding community sufficiently informed for their safety are all factors that need to be considered.
  3. Communication – Communication has to be established with the hostile element, with face to face contact being actively discouraged due to the danger involved.

General Strategies

  • Minimise background distractions for both yourself and the hostile element. Distractions include multiple talking at once, background noise etc.
  • Open dialogue with an introduction and statement of intent: “This is Lieutenant James Anders, Starfleet Security. I am here to listen to you and to try to make sure everybody stays safe”. Try to keep the introduction simple and always strive for honesty.
  • To build rapport ask what they liked to be called. If in doubt, always be respectfully. You want to use a name that is familiar to them as much as possible, without avoiding fake camaraderie.
  • Speak slowly and calmly and adapt your conversation to the hostile elements level. Avoid talking over their head, talking down or trying to mimic speech patterns.
  • Be supportive and encouraging about the outcome. Downplay any actions the hostile element may have made so far. The emphasis should always be on what they can still do to save lives, including their own.

Negotiation Strategies

  • Make the hostile element work for everything they get by requesting something in return, no matter how small.
  • Do not ask it there are any demands, offer anything not asked for and never deliver more than necessary to fulfil the request.
  • Never say no to a demand; however saying not saying no is not the same as saying yes. Try to deflect, modify or postpone the demands.


  • A hostile element has four options: surrender, escape,suicide or killing hostages. The preferred option for Starfleet is surrender; however a non-violent escape spares hostages and allows the suspect to be tracked down.
  • A successful resolution often involves the hostile element coming out on their own, preserving as much dignity as possible, and is the most crucial aspect of the negotiations.
  • When talking with the hostile element, avoid words that create connotations of weakness, such as “surrender” or “give up”.
  • Start the discussion relating to surrender by emphasising what they have to gain by this action. It is important to be realistic whilst being optimistic.
  • Find out what assurances the hostile element needs and whether they can be accommodated. Discuss scenarios for the hostile element coming out until a mutually beneficial plan has been agreed upon.
  • Ensure that the team are fully aware of the plan, clarifying any points as required. It is vital all parties understand as a misstep or misunderstanding could result in the deal failing and potentially the loss of lives.

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