Suicide by cop: implications for crisis (hostage) negotiations

 

 

Marina Sarno, Vincent B. Van Hasselt

Journal of Criminal Psychology

2014

 

 

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JCP-05-2014-0009

 

Purpose

Suicide by cop (SbC) is a growing problem and presents special challenges to crisis (hostage) negotiation teams. The purpose of this paper is to examine current definitions of SbC, early warning signs of SbC, successful and unsuccessful resolution of cases, and strategies that have proven most effective to resolve these incidents. Recommendations regarding appropriate training and coping strategies in dealing with the post-shooting emotional sequelae of SbC are presented.

 

Design/methodology/approach

With a dearth of empirical knowledge regarding how to properly respond to SbC crisis incidents, an extensive literature review was conducted to ascertain extant strategies to de-escalate and reduce the lethality of these events.

 

Findings

Results indicated that SbC crisis incidents are more likely to be resolved if officers provide reassurance for the way that subject's feel, comply with reasonable requests, and offer alternative or realistic options. Establishing rapport by spending time with the subject and utilizing active listening skills can decrease the likelihood of another episode in the future.

 

Practical implications

These findings have implications for the efficient training of law enforcement officers in general, and crisis negotiators, in particular, in how to appropriately deal with SbC events. The authors also highlight specific errors in negotiation and how to observe early warning signs in the SbC subject to inform prevention and intervention strategies.

 

Originality/value

The paper adds to the limited literature on crisis negotiation techniques for resolving SbC incidents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee

www.hsjcc.on.ca/