“The More You Do, the More Comfortable You Feel”: The Police Hostage and Crisis Negotiator Journey

Amy R. Grubb, Sarah J. Brown, Peter Hall, Erica Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Hostage and crisis negotiators are specialist police officers utilised internationally by police forces to resolve hostage and crisis incidents. Whilst the role has been heavily documented in some parts of the world (namely the United States of America), there is a lack of literature relating to the organisational and operational processes and procedures in place for police negotiators in the United Kingdom. Equally, there is limited research that has explored the experiences of negotiators who perform an essential function within a variety of life-or-death situations with a view to understanding how officers transition from trainee to qualified negotiators. This paper outlines the development of a grounded theoretical model that depicts the “hostage and crisis negotiator journey,” as represented by English negotiators. Interviews were conducted with 15 negotiators from nine police forces in England and a conceptual model was developed including five primary, 12 secondary, and 32 tertiary categories. The negotiator journey is chronologically recounted by means of the five main primary categories identified: (1) ‘Why? Reasons for entering (and remaining within) the negotiator world’, (2) ‘Who and how? The negotiator profile and selection’, (3) ‘Negotiator training’, (4) ‘Operational negotiator roles’, and (5) ‘Negotiator welfare and support’. This paper demonstrates one of the first attempts to empirically map the processes and procedures in place for negotiators in England and the findings are discussed in line with their potential implications for police policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-211
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date3 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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  • Police hostage and crisis negotiator
  • Hostage and crisis negotiation policy
  • Negotiator training
  • Negotiator stress
  • Negotiator welfare


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