“I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who. I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west; but after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.”
Rudyard Kipling, The Elephant’s Child
During the undulating emotions of any kidnap, it is important that any Crisis Management Team remember Kipling’s quote to remain focused on the facts in their decision making; it is all too easy during a period of low emotion to grasp at assumptions. The use of a decision-making model underpinned by human rights, during the crisis helps keep track of not only decisions, but also the rationale behind them based on the evidence available at that time. Post crisis, this is particularly important should the organisation face the threat of litigation from the victim or their family.
We need only look at the recent terrorist attack in Paris where it is again clear that the perpetrators have been professionally trained. As in Somalian Piracy, they trained their own negotiators to ensure that they achieved the highest levels in ransom and no doubt the same is true of terrorist organisations seeking to fund their operations through an active and profitable kidnap & ransom business.
Understanding the process of converting information into credible intelligence is key in any investigation into kidnap as is the use of encrypted communications to prevent perpetrators monitoring e-mail traffic and having the ability to second guess the actions of your Crisis Management Team. So, in essence, remember Kipling, use him well in your response, give your teams a break to refresh and keep them up to date with training & testing.
Our adversaries have become increasingly challenging and complex in their abductions; so, when your response team is at a low ebb, respect Tennyson.
“Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson – Ulysses