September 1, 2011 1:05 pm

Full executive summary on the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot

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The report on the Stanley Cup riot that occurred on June 15 was released to the public on September 1.

There was a total of 53 recommendations in the report, which discussed everything from alcohol use to the transit situation in and around downtown Vancouver the night of the riots.

Below is the full summary from the report with a link to the full report.

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Vancouver, September 01, 2011 – The report of the June 15, 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Playoff Riot was tabled today by its authors, Douglas J. Keefe, QC and John Furlong, OC, OBC. Titled “The Night the City Became a Stadium: Independent Review of the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Playoffs Riot”, the report and its 53 recommendations are the first comprehensive independent examination of the riot and the changes needed to help ensure safe and enjoyable civic celebrations in the future.

Following a set mandate, the authors conclude that recommendations from a report on a 1994 hockey riot have been respected, largely adapted and implemented. The report provides a detailed chronology of events for the night of June 15th and analyzes the planning and the execution of those plans by the City of Vancouver (CoV) and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). This analysis points to significant challenges and planning misses and also notes the heroic effort made to bring the riotous behaviour under control. The report also paints a grim picture of how excessive alcohol fuelled the evening providing it with a reckless energy.

Key report, key findings and confirmations include:  

– The 155,000-person downtown crowd contained in an extremely compressed space was significantly larger and arrived hours earlier than civic and police personnel had planned for, making it extremely difficult to manage the venue as planned; security efforts were  overwhelmed.
– Alcohol consumption was unbridled and fuelled the event creating unsafe and unpredictable behavior that led to the riot and significant criminal behaviour.
– Police plans and budgets were prepared with no political influence or interference.
– The number of police officers on duty began at 446 and eventually reached 928 at full deployment.
– Plans developed by the VPD evolved throughout the playoffs and included broad regional cooperation among police agencies; however compatibility issues with equipment, training and tactics hampered the effectiveness of those on the front line.

In their 53 recommendations, Keefe and Furlong outline the changes needed to significantly reduce the risk of a repeat event, with particular emphasis on security and event planning and execution. The report also addresses how media, social media, volunteers, Translink, E-COMM, the Vancouver Canucks, the National Hockey League and the public all have key roles to play to achieve a more positive outcome at future celebrations.

Key report recommendations include:

1) Public Safety
– The police and fire services across the region, together with BC Ambulance, E-Comm and Translink should together, and under the leadership of the Minister of Public Safety if necessary, develop a framework for mutual aid that can be adapted for regional events.

– When an event is deemed to be a regional event, there should be a ‘regional event public safety plan’ and it should contain mutual aid elements.
– The RCMP tactical troop and VPD public order unit should train together and develop common tactics they can use as a unit during joint operations.

2) Major Event Planning and Staging
– The CoV, working with multiple partners typically involved in helping to deliver major events of regional interest, should become cooperative joint sponsors of a new “Everyday Heroes” volunteer initiative to ensure that such a program is developed to meet some of the human and technical needs for staging these events.
– All the partners involved in delivering and benefiting from Regional Events should commit to the development of a special Twitter-like social media communications tool to be housed at E-Comm and that this initiative be funded properly so as to achieve immediate and continuing maximum impact.
– The CoV should form its own ‘Major Event Planning Team’ and draw on the considerable skills and abilities of individuals from within its own family to participate such as the PNE, Parks Board, Engineering and others, and that all key agencies provide resources and personnel to this process.

3) Alcohol
– TransLink should lead a process for the development of best practices for alcoholic beverage interdiction on and around its system. The process should include police forces in the region and a senior representative of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch. That these practices include provisions for collaboration between Transit Police, local police services, private security, and carefully selected and trained volunteers, to ensure ample coverage.
– The powers of the General Manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch should be reviewed to consider additional powers to dampen the sale and distribution of alcohol for regional events. This review should include enhancement of existing powers and new measures including closures, restricted hours of operation, limits to alcohol purchases and serving sizes, age restrictions, wider inspections of licensed establishments, and measures known to be effective in other jurisdictions.

4) Community Justice
– The Attorney General should establish a process or special court specifically for dealing with the prosecution of people accused of a riot-related criminal act that provides crown counsel and judges with a suitable range of processes and sentencing options necessary to:
– respond with appropriate measures to the wide range of criminal acts and criminals; and
– take into account the community harm done by the riot.
– In designing this process, the Attorney General should consult recognized experts on community justice, and the judiciary, affected businesses and residents.

5) Professional Hockey
– The Vancouver Canucks should be urged to embark on a program of activities using its considerable facilities and influence to encourage year-round responsible fan celebrations and sportsmanship.
– The NHL should be urged to partner with host cities and NHL franchises competing for the Stanley Cup to help ensure the best, safest public celebrations possible. Furthermore, that the league be urged to develop year-round programs that encourage responsible fan behaviour and sportsmanship around the game of professional hockey.

The Riot Review of 2011 Executive Summary and full report are available at: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/vancouverriotreview/  

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