Two years after 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives from Pakistan terrorised the city and held hostages at Taj Mahal Palace, hotel Trident and Chabad House, the Mumbai police are finally making a serious effort to set up a team of hostage negotiators.
These negotiators are trained to talk down agitated people who have held hostages and help resolve critical incidents.
The Mumbai Police’s special team will comprise police officers and also professionals from various fields, including psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists and lecturers.
A seminar will be held at the Bandra-Kurla police station on Monday to discuss hostage negotiation and crisis management, said Amitabh Gupta, additional commissioner of police.
“Around 40 people, including 20 inspectors and professionals, will participate in the seminar. After all, hostage negotiation is not just about policing,” said Gupta, who has been appointed as the nodal officer to raise the hostage negotiation team.
“We will choose the team members on the basis of aptitude and our requirements,” said Gupta, but refused to divulge more details, such as number of teams they plan to set up.
“The policemen have been handpicked by senior officers of each of the five regions and those selected will be part of the team. The team will undergo training to deal with such situations effectively,” said an officer, who will participate in the discussion.
Gupta, deputy police commissioner Satyanarayan Chowdhary and inspector Shalini Sharma will be making presentations at the seminar.
Sharma, Mumbai Police’s liaison officer for communication with the Interpol who was selected to undergo training in Hostage Negotiation and Crisis Management at London, had returned from the UK in May.