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Chief Chu: Should have been more officers on riot night

VPD Chief Jim Chu talking to reporters

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver’s chief of police admits mistakes were made on riot night. The riot report says there were communication problems between police forces that evening.

But when he was asked what he could have done differently, Jim Chu would only says he’s not going to play ‘what if.’

Chu was also asked about the internal VPD poll that showed 220 officers answered ‘no’ to the question “Were there enough officers deployed for Game Seven?’ Only 45 officers responded ‘yes.’

“I agree in hindsight, we should have used more police officers. If I had known there was going to be a riot that night, I would have added way more police officers,” Chu notes.

He says the biggest problem was too many people, and shutting down the live viewing sites could have made the situation worse.

Premier’s reaction to review

The premier is assigning blame for the riot.

“Let’s remember who’s at fault here. The drunken rioters are at fault for this. They are the ones that put our sense of safety in our city at risk. They are the ones who imperiled our sense of community,” says Christy Clark, adding that she is frustrated at how slow the process has been and says the provincial government is willing to consider its options for speeding things up.

NDP critic wonders where money for regional event planning will come from

NDP justice critic Kathy Corrigan likes the recommendations in the report, but says the suggestion to declare some major events ‘regional events’ will cost a lot of money.  “The province, the municipalities and police forces involved are going to have to sit down and talk about who is going to pay for a regional approach, which I think is a good one,” she notes.

She also hopes the premier will work more closely with police and municipalities to make sure these recommendations are put into place.

Vancouver’s mayor wants more cooperation with professional sports

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says when the NFL, NBA or FIFA put on a major event, they’re closely involved in the planning process.

He says if the Canucks are in this position again, he’d like to see the team and the league play a bigger role in shaping the event. “I’m very hopeful that we’ll see a positive response from the NHL and the Canucks in the event we’re in this situation maybe next year. We may be looking at this sooner rather than later.”

He didn’t get into whether the Canucks should have to pick up part of the tab for a big party downtown.

Canucks Sports and Entertainment, meanwhile, says the city and the province can count on its support next season.

Mayoral candidate insists plans should have been approved by council

Vancouver mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton maintains that the big party plans for Game Seven should have gone to council beforehand. “This was run out of the mayor’s office without much supervision or much interest by the mayor providing many operational details. By the way, the mayor was not out on the street.  I was out on the street,” Anton insists.

And she feels too many people were drawn to the downtown area. “There were events in other parts of the region. The other municipalities had to be working together to promote them. Everybody didn’t have to come to Vancouver’s downtown.”

Criminologist says report misses the point

SFU criminologist Rob Gordon fears something like this will happen again. He says the report’s co-chairs missed the point: there should be a single police force for Metro Vancouver. “This is not rocket science. I find it quite frustrating that the primary issue is being overlooked,” he suggests.

He says a regional force would take care of the communication breakdowns the report highlighted. “I was told they actually had police coming in from Abbotsford. This is not good. This is actually quite appalling.”

And he fears history will repeat itself if the issue isn’t addressed. “The politicians and decision-makers are not getting it. It is regrettable that Keefe and Furlong weren’t able to underscore that.”

City’s internal riot review also released

The city’s internal review has also been released.  It recommends better control over liquor and the number of people entering live sites.

Also recommended are better quick-decision making in escalating situations and the creation of a hazard policy for large events.

Much of the findings of internal review are the same as the official review. More details will come out at Tuesday’s council meeting.

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