After much dilly-dallying,the Union Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA)has finally woken up to the need to have a blueprint to train a battery of senior officers on the lines of the US government’s hostage policy, which will deny payment of ransom, prisoner release or any other concessions to the hostage takers.
And the Hostage Negotiation Training Course, which is to be conducted with the help of the US Embassy here next month, will impart expert training to a select group of 24 police officers on how to conduct negotiations with the terrorists.
The training will include communication skills and the psychology of negotiations.
In fact, the tactical training will enable the select officials to deal effectively with the crises and they can conduct negotiations to resolve the hostage situation without any loss of life.
Although, suggestions for a hostage policy had been made since the IC-814 hijacking in 1999, the Centre had failed to evolve uniform guidelines to negotiate with the terrorists.
According to the ministry, the training is consistent with the current US government policy on dealing with the hostage crisis.
And it pointed out that Washington would not make any concessions to individuals or groups holding officials or private US citizens hostage and would use every appropriate resource to gain the safe release of the US citizens held hostage.
“At the same time, it is the US government policy to deny hostage takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes or other act of concessions,” the MHA stated.
The US trainers will prepare DSP and DIG level officers selected from the various states, agencies and paramilitary forces to deal with the media and suicide incidents during hostage crisis. The training will cover different methods of negotiating with the terrorists and include case studies to show how every hostage and crisis situation is different.
The job of a professional negotiator is to calm a situation, attain tactical advantage through skill dialogue and to gain valuable time to deploy all the necessary resources.
After the training, the officers will be able to conduct hostage negotiations using the latest methods available, use crisis phone systems, identify the different characteristics of the hostage takers and terrorist suspects, proper interviewing techniques and dealing with the people in crisis.