The film which premiered in the UK this month (January 2018) depicts John Paul Getty’s refusal to cooperate with the extortion demands of a group of kidnappers who abducted his grandson John Paul Getty III in 1973.

Without doubt, the greatest line of the film was when John Paul Getty told reporters,

“I have 14 grandchildren and if I pay one penny ransom, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

Never a truer word spoken! To pay a ransom and to be seen to pay a ransom would have simply created a market and endangered his other 14 grandchildren. John Paul Getty Senior himself, i.e. the family Principle, was generally in a safer position that those family members around him as he had the power to release funds. It is therefore families and loved ones who are potential victims of kidnap for ransom.

There are two things that can be done to ensure the safety of family and loved ones.

The first is preventative which is by regularly reviewing what the actual security needs are and being aware of the risks. This is key. Then, creating a security plan to mitigate those risks which needs to be implemented to keep everyone safe from harm. This should ideally include personal safety awareness training for all family members and key staff.

The second, distasteful as it is, is to have a plan just in case the worst should happen. This should include who will deal with the hostage takers, who will liaise with the family, how you will make safe all other family members and mitigate any other potential risks.

Do the first thing properly i.e. review the risks then create and implement a security plan and hopefully, you shouldn’t need to do the second i.e. activate your crisis plan and deal with hostage takers etc. The choice is yours.

Finally, we would recommend that if you do employ the services of an external security provider with the correct level of expertise and experience to conduct a thorough threat and risk security review, please take the time to seek wise advice so as to confirm that the security specialist you employ is licensed, legal and knows what they are talking about.