Right to pay ransoms?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
November 17, 2010, 1:20 AM GMT+0

The majority of the British public disagrees with the payment of ransoms as Kent couple and former Somali pirate hostages Paul and Rachel Chandler were released from captivity on Sunday after their ransom, estimated anywhere from £200,000 to £1m, was allegedly paid privately.

  • Only 19% believe that it is right to pay to pay ransom money to kidnappers.
  • The majority (54%) believe that it is wrong to do so.
  • 27% are undecided as to what is the right course of action.

The Chandlers had been sailing from the Seychelles to Tanzania 13 months ago, when they were seized by pirates after straying into the notoriously hazardous waters surrounding Somalia. Initially, their capturers demanded a ransom of around $7m, which reportedly decreased gradually amid international, and Somali, condemnation of the pirates’ actions. The payment, thought to have been mainly raised by family, friends, well-wishers and influential Somalis, is the second to have been given to the pirates, as the first amount failed to secure the Chandlers’ release in June this year.

Critics have argued that by giving in to the kidnappers’ demands, pirates in the region have been given yet more incentive to continue kidnapping in return for ransom payments.

Throughout the couple’s captivity the British Government has remained steadfast in its refusal to pay ransoms. Our data suggests that many Brits agree with this long-standing policy.

See the survey details and full results