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Posted on Wednesday 11 May 2022
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The voice that changed their mind.

The negotiator.

This is Inspector Jamie Gray, full time Response Inspector for Durham City and Peterlee, on call crisis negotiator for anyone experiencing a mental health episode in County Durham and Darlington.

But what is the role of a negotiator? Durham Constabulary have a team of 19 crisis and hostage negotiators who take on this specialist role in addition to their day job.

The incidents they attend will be different each time but the purpose of deploying a police negotiator is always the same – to save lives.

A negotiator must communicate well, listen, influence, be quick-thinking, adaptive, show resilience and stay focused on the job at hand.

Jamie now has 5 years’ experience working as a police negotiator for the force and works on an on-call rota alongside his colleagues.

Talking about his experience in the role so far, he said: “Being a negotiator is emotionally demanding but as you can imagine extremely rewarding too.

“Speaking to people in these moments of crisis allows us as negotiators the opportunity to intervene and break the cycle of negative thoughts.

“I’ve attended incidents where I’ve tried to speak to the person for several hours and have had no response but have attended others where the individual has opened up straight away – everyone’s situations are different.

“Sadly, some of the incidents we attend don’t always lead to a positive outcome and that’s what sticks with you the most but knowing I did everything I could to help allows me to process the incident.”

This #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek focuses on loneliness.

Explore ways to lift someone out of loneliness:

In an emergency, always call 999.

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