Tiger kidnap involves the short-term hostage taking of family members of someone who has immediate access to cash or valuables. The captives are frequently held overnight and the aim of the criminals is to frighten their victims to such a degree that they will not contact the Police, even when they have an opportunity to do so.
Our primary objective is to prevent a kidnap happening in the first place. The easiest way to look at this is to study what the criminals need to make these kidnaps successful, from their perspective.
These can be summarised as:
• A victim who has access to large amounts of cash or valuables.
• A victim who can be kidnapped with close family members and held without their absence being reported.
• Police not becoming aware of the kidnap whilst the crime is in progress.
If we can remove any of these factors or reduce them to such a degree that the risk for the criminal outweighs the likely payoff, the crime will probably not occur.
If a kidnap occurs
If you or a colleague / friend / relative has been kidnapped it takes great courage to report the matter to the Police. The criminals depend on victims being so fearful for their family that they will not report it until sometime after the proceeds have been handed over and the criminals have escaped. This means trusting the criminals more than your colleagues or the Police.
The Police have extensive experience of dealing with serious incidents where lives may be in danger. If a kidnap in progress is reported or discovered, the priority is always the safety of the victims and the Police will not undertake operations, which would be likely to increase the risks of harm or injury to them. There is a tried and tested system in place for dealing with tiger kidnappings, which has been so successful in the past that, for a number of years, these crimes did not occur. This system has been reviewed, improved and updated and you can be sure that the matter will be dealt with by senior, experienced officers, from the outset.
Remember; the Police will not arrive at the victim’s house with lights and horns blazing or do anything to provoke a hostage situation.
What can you do?
• Reduce the level of cash or valuables held to an absolute minimum.
• Sensitive information or material must be strictly limited to those who need to know it in order to do their jobs effectively. No one should have access to sensitive information solely on the basis of position or appointment.
• Ensuring that no-one has access to enough cash or valuables to make them an attractive target to criminals.
• Measures to compartmentalise the holdings into smaller quantities.
• Consider installing off-site control for critical locks or access to large quantities of cash or valuables.
• Review your effective use of CCTV systems to monitor vulnerable areas.
• Minimising contingencies by encouraging pre-booking, by customers, of the collection of large quantities of cash or valuables.
• Educating staff to notice and report anything unusual which may indicate a colleague is acting under duress
• Encouraging staff to report kidnaps in progress and rely on the robust system designed to deal with these.
• Frequent review and updating of the above procedures.