After years in the police, Scott Walker became a ‘response consultant’, handling everything from abductions to piracy and cyber-attacks. The skills he used can help you get a pay rise, lower your rent, defuse a family crisis …
S omewhere in Europe, a man is taken at gunpoint from his BMW. He is a successful businessman, worth an estimated €200m; from the burnt-out wreckage of his car, it’s clear this is a professional operation.
In London, 48 hours later, Scott Walker is part of the team brought in to secure the man’s release. A hostage negotiator with more than a decade’s experience, Walker prepares himself for a long haul: it could be weeks before the kidnappers make contact with their demands. But the immediate negotiation is not with them – it’s with the hostage’s younger brother.
After the man was taken hostage, his brother assumed the roles of a family representative, decision maker and chief negotiator with the kidnappers: a load usually shared by three people. “He saw this as his moment to shine; his opportunity to prove himself, to himself – and he really struggled,” says Walker. Attempting to shoulder the responsibility alone, the brother unravelled into a “physical and emotional wreck”. Yet the man remained resistant to the experts around him. “We call it the ‘crisis within a crisis’,” says Walker – and it can loom large, even against a backdrop of life or death.