When it comes to confronting angry, irate, or non-compliant individuals, consider these effective de-escalation techniques for a peaceful resolution.
Working with people can be difficult. This is especially true if you’re a security guard. In a survey of job satisfaction and difficulty, a security guard ranked 134 out of 200.
Police officers and corrections officers ranked even lower, as did enlisted military personnel. While working with people might be hard, working with dangerous people is even worse.
The upside to this is that security guards, police officers, and the like can do something about it. There are plenty of great de-escalation techniques that can keep tensions from boiling over and people from getting hurt.
We’ll talk about some of these techniques in the paragraphs below.
Sometimes, people’s biggest complaint is that they don’t feel listened to. Most of us have a complaint like this at some point in our lives. We have days when we want to scream, but we feel so much better after screaming.
Some people get more agitated than others, but not everyone becomes violent. Some people just want to be heard, even if it happens under less-than-ideal circumstances.
Under no circumstances should you try to get involved in the issue. Don’t pretend to pay attention, or tell the person that they’re wrong. Stay calm and have people talk one at a time.
2. Find out the Person’s Name and Use it
While it may not seem like much, learning a person’s name can help you connect to that person, which can make it easier to avoid further escalation and violence.
Our names are important. It’s been the signal we’ve answered to for years, so our attention is drawn to someone who uses it. It means that someone knows us.
The use of a person’s name, combined with undivided attention and a calm, respectful tone of voice, lets them know that the person they’re talking to likes them and means them no harm.
Think about how you talk to people and how first impressions are formed. Those who are nice to us are the ones we’re more likely to be friends with. It’s human nature to associate with people we like and who seem to like us.
3. Get Permission Before Taking Notes
It may seem like standard procedure, but one way to distinguish security services from each other is to understand their level of training.
Approximately 20% of people in jail and 15% of those in prison are mentally ill. Police deal with the mentally ill every day, and some of them suffer from delusions of grandeur.
They may not trust authority and might become uneasy when an officer starts writing things down. To keep everyone calm, it’s best to ask permission before writing things down, even if the suspect shows no signs of mental illness.
4. Ask For Clarification
Asking the person to clarify the situation before you arrived helps to reinforce the fact that you’re listening to them.
Not only that but explaining a situation forces us to confront our own ideas and actions. In some instances, this will cause the person to reconsider their stance and decide the conflict isn’t worth it.
5. Involve Them in the Solution
Once you have their attention and are certain you understand the situation, it may be best to talk about solutions. Since it’s the aggravated person’s problem, they should be included in the talk of solutions.
This demonstrates even further that they are being listened to and respected. Not only that, but discussing solutions is a great way to resolve the situation non-violently.
You may also try giving them the choice between a few solutions. This involves them in the solution while allowing the officer/s to keep control of the situation. Choices can be used earlier on as well, especially if the person in question appears uncooperative.
Try to make sure that the person is aware of the consequences of their actions. Do your best to communicate this in a non-threatening, matter-of-fact way so that they don’t become more agitated.
6. Ask Sequence Questions
Sequence questions are a way to get the person’s mind off the subject at hand. Talking and answering questions about something else may cause them to calm down.
The trick to this technique is to not be obvious. Begin by asking questions that someone in law enforcement would ask. For instance, ask if they live around here. Then ask if they can point out their house.
After that, you may be able to get them talking about the house and distract them from the situation.
7. Always Be Prepared
Unfortunately, not everybody is interested in talking it out. They’ve already decided on violence and nobody can convince them otherwise.
For this reason, an officer has to be prepared to defend themselves and others if necessary. De-escalation techniques can stop a lot of situations from becoming violent, but they don’t always work.
At the end of the day, the world isn’t perfect, and you may find that your best option is to subdue the person and make an arrest.
De-escalation Techniques and How to Use Them
De-escalation techniques are a tool used by cops to keep a situation from becoming violent. Different types of officers across many different fields are taught some of these techniques, though some receive more training than others.
Just because they were invented by and for law enforcement doesn’t mean a citizen can’t benefit from knowing them. They may help you stay safe in the future.
If you’re interested in learning more about de-escalation techniques and how they work, we encourage you to do more research on your own.
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