Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT)

Crisis Negotiation is the art and science of using communication, persuasion, intelligence and special equipment to convince a subject he has more to gain and less to lose by ending an incident peacefully.

Police Negotiator uniform and a female and male crisis negotiator talking with headphone set on

Crisis Negotiators are trained to use active listening skills, understanding, caring, patience and persuasion. Negotiators do everything possible to preserve life in incredibly stressful and volatile situations.

Crisis Negotiators are activated by local Crisis Incident Commanders, and frequently work closely with the Emergency Response Team (ERT) and a select cadre of psychological consultants.

A typical Crisis Negotiation Team is comprised of:

Within the BC RCMP there are 4 Crisis Negotiator teams, one located in each district (Island District, North District, South East District, Lower Mainland District). Our team members have travelled by land, ocean and air as needed, and dedicate many hours to resolve dangerous and critical situations.

Primary calls for service include:

On average, Negotiators across BC RCMP respond to over 150 critical incident calls per year. The work can be very high stress, but is ultimately incredibly rewarding too. Negotiators make it their mission to help those in their darkest moments and frequently are directly responsible for saving lives.


This scenario based training is an example of what they face on a regular basis and how their various roles come into play to obtain the safest outcome possible for everyone involved.


The Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) is just one team who is part of a larger BC RCMP Critical Incident Program that is made up of various teams all trained to deescalate and assist in crisis situations.

This scenario based training is an example of what they face on a regular basis and how their various roles come into play to obtain the safest outcome possible for everyone involved.

A 9-1-1 calls comes in about a distraught man with a large knife yelling end of the world comments at a local grocery store.


Local police first responders arrive quickly and evacuate the general public from the scene for their own safety.

They use their training in Crisis De-escalation techniques to help calm the man down but instead he gets more agitated and starts waving the knife around as he continues to yell.
They call out the Critical Incident Program.

With CIP comes a specially trained Crisis Negotiation Team, the Emergency Response Team, and a Critical Incident Commander to help resolve the situation.

A Negotiation Liaison Officer (NLO) receives a call from dispatch stating the request and need for a crisis negotiator. Much like other teams CNT is integrated with other police agencies across the province.

This is often why you’ll see other police uniforms working along side the BC RCMP such as these.

After obtaining the necessary information from dispatch, a Crisis Negotiation Team is called out.

A full team is comprised of:

- a Negotiation Liaison Officer - who provides updates and strategy recommendations to a Critical Incident Commander

- a Primary negotiator - who speaks with the distraught person in need

- a Secondary negotiator - who coaches and assists the primary

- an Intelligence negotiator - who gathers information about the individual white dress shirt civvies – And a Psychological Consultant - a Registered Psychologist who helps advise the negotiators and provide insights into any mental health observations.

After receiving a briefing, the Negotiators go to work developing intelligence on the individual. This is to understand what precipitated the current crisis, and try to get an understanding of who the individual is and how they can help them.

The Negotiation and Tactical Liaison Officers work closely with the Critical Incident Commander (CIC) to provide updates on the unfolding situation.

The CIC is an experienced higher ranking officer who is responsible for ensuring all decisions made are necessary, risk effective and acceptable (morally, legally and ethically).

The Emergency Response and Crisis Negotiation Teams on scene, do their best to first talk with the distraught man and use the lowest level of force possible. 

When the Critical Incident Commander gives approval to the Negotiation Liaison Officer (NLO) to start the discussion, the NLO will reach out to the distraught man using any communications technologies necessary, depending on the situation.

The negotiator team continuously develops hypotheses and strategies on how best to communicate with the person in need.

Negotiators may call upon family, friends or other contacts to assist with communicating to the person in need and further the objectives ensuring a safe outcome for all.

In some escalating situations, the Emergency Response Team have to step in and act immediately to protect the public, the man and fellow officers.

In this particular scenario, after careful negotiations, the distraught male dropped his knife, became compliant to police commands and was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken in for psychological assessment.

Negotiators, working side by side with ERT and the CIC, are trained to help bring about resolutions to critical incidents using the least amount of force possible.

With specialized training and the expertise of various professionals in their field, the negotiators help build relationships with those in distress to assist in bringing the situation to a successful outcome where everyone is safe.

Many calls are successfully resolved using the skill and compassion of the Critical Incident Program’s

Crisis Negotiation Team.

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