Riot crowd gathered early, report says

Fewer than 500 police officers found themselves dealing with a crowd of 155,000 hockey fans and troublemakers much more quickly than they expected, a review of the Stanley Cup riot has found.

A rioter prepares to torch a car in one of the photos posted by the Vancouver Police at www.riot2011.vpd.ca

Fewer than 500 police officers found themselves dealing with a crowd of 155,000 hockey fans and troublemakers much more quickly than they expected, a review of the Stanley Cup riot has found.

Police started out with 446 officers on the streets of downtown Vancouver the night of June 15, and had 928 on duty by the time the situation was brought under control, said a report issued Thursday by two reviewers appointed by the B.C. government.

Unlike the 1994 riot, police from different cities were able to communicate, but due to a lack of practice working together, there was still confusion, the report said. Another difference from 1994 was the expansion of the SkyTrain service in the region, which rapidly delivered many more people to the downtown core.

The police “meet and greet” technique that was effective during similar downtown gatherings at the Olympics in February could not function because of the size and early arrival of the crowd, said Doug Keefe, the former Nova Scotia deputy minister who conducted the review along with former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong.

The report makes 53 recommendations to prevent or contain future incidents, including having the RCMP and Vancouver Police tactical squads train together. Police and fire services across the region should have a clear framework for covering major regional events.

Only two charges were laid as of this week against rioters. Vancouver Police launched a website Tuesday with pictures to help the public identify offenders caught by the many cameras that were used the night of the riot. VPD Chief Jim Chu said he wants a full review of the pictures, 1,600 hours of video and other evidence so people who committed major offences don’t get off with lesser punishment.

Premier Christy Clark said she is as frustrated as anyone that more charges haven’t been laid, but police are trying to be as thorough as possible.

“It was those drunken louts who caused this problem,” Clark said. “It wasn’t police, it wasn’t other citizens. It was them.”

NDP public safety critic Kathy Corrigan said the province needs to help fund the regional event security recommended by the report. Corrigan said Chu is wrong that people can’t be charged with additional offences if new evidence comes forward.

Police asked City of Vancouver officials to make the outdoor gathering a ticketed event and check everyone for alcohol, but there wasn’t time to organize that, Keefe said. And the 100,000 people who massed in the streets outside the live site led to the congestion and confusion that allowed looting and vandalism to continue for several hours.

Regional cooperation and planning would have helped, but there is no indication that a new regional police service would help, the reviewers said.

The full report is available here.

Just Posted

L.A. photographer explores past in Vernon exhibition

Caroline Clerc’s three day exhibition runs June 26-29, with talk on June 26

Cowboy entertainment returns to O’Keefe Ranch

Cowboy Dinner Show back every Friday in July and August

Spend Father’s Day at the GolfBC Championship

Looking for a last minute plan for spending time with dad?

Kelowna kids take to the sky with COPA event

The Kelowna Flying Club invited youth between the ages of eight and 17 to join them.

Education opportunity of a lifetime for Okanagan Y volunteer

Madeline Bishop receives $10,000 four-year scholarship

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Penticton Pistoleras seize second undefeated season

Penticton’s Pistoleras roller derby team wrapped up the season undefeated, thanks to… Continue reading

B.C. NHL prospect expected to make ‘full recovery’ after incident in Calgary

Jordy Bellerive was injured in a reported house fire Saturday night

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Former Penticton Vee recovering in hospital

Pittsburgh Penguin prospect expected to make full recovery

UPDATE: RCMP investigating overnight incident on Lakeshore Road

Evidence markers noting blood stains on road

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

Police say Salmon Arm youth who posted about shooting students no longer a threat

Group which alerted RCMP to tweets says it issued a Code Red, highest level of alert

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

Most Read