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He even trained over 400 peo­ple to carry on his work when he even­tu­ally re­tired.

Dur­ing his time at the Hostage and Cri­sis Unit he faced count­less stress­ful sit­u­a­tions in­clud­ing two dif­fer­ent par­ties claim­ing to hold of the same hostages.

He said: “Some­times groups say they’ve got them even if they don’t. The thing is, you can’t take that risk with lives.”

Richard spoke to us about death, stress and ne­go­ti­at­ing with the Tal­iban... What made you want to go into it? Erm, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to go into but I was asked to. I was a po­lice of­fi­cer at the time and con­duct­ing a lot of their in­ter­views. A friend of mine was run­ning the hostage unit and I was asked to go across there and look at their course. It all hap­pened re­ally quickly but be­fore I knew it I be­came a ne­go­tia­tor. How do you deal with the pres­sure? I think you need to take the emo­tion out of it re­ally. I know that sounds cold but it’s true.

You have to fo­cus more on the peo­ple and less about your­self.

The more you con­cen­trate on the other per­son the bet­ter it is. You end up kind of pro­tect­ing your­self by not think­ing about how it makes you feel.

One of the big things that peo­ple need to un­der­stand is that it’s not a per­for­mance by me as the ne­go­tia­tor. I’m there try­ing to un­der­stand the other per­son and come to a con­clu­sion.

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