Vancouver Riot 2011 Full Report: Too Little, Too Late
VPD Stanley Cup 2011 Riot Report
The Vancouver Police Department released its report on the 2011 Stanley Cup riot. The gist of the riot report is that Vancouver was not prepared for the unrest that erupted when the Canucks lost. Arguably the city should have predicted both the loss and the riot.
The report found that the VPD responded too late to the riot, and that its initial response was ineffective. The report makes 53 recommendations, mainly covering how the city prepares for major events, how professional sports teams can impact community behavior, and how to control alcohol consumption around major sporting events. (Vancouver is big on trying to get people not to drink: this was an aim during the Olympics as well.)
The summary of the report (linked above) points out that "there were too many people, not too few police". Also, people showed up wasted really early in the day: the VPD strategy was to get people to take responsibility for their actions, but that was out the window by two in the afternoon.
The VPD riot report has made for divergent headlines across Canadian media outlets:
- Ottawa Citizen: Vancouver, Police Poorly Prepared for Stanley Cup Riot
- CTV Ottawa: 'Planning Misses' Drinking Led to Vancouver Riot
- Globe & Mail: Too Little and Much too Late
Some are angry that the VPD hasn't been as aggressive in charging rioters as has been Scotland Yard after the London riots.
However, Canadians should ask themselves how keen they are to have the VPD emulate the Met's methodology. "Restorative justice" is proposed in the Vancouver riot report; the concept is not being applied at all in England. Would you rather wake up to property-damage headlines, or police-brutality headlines? While the question poses a false dichotomy, it's food for thought.
In addressing the review, VPD Chief Constable Jim Chu said, "The question we have all asked, including myself, is there anything we could have done differently to ensure that there would not have been a riot? And secondly, is there anything we could have done differently to stop it immediately before it could get started?
Sadly it would seem that there is no magic solution to protect ourselves from those intent on creating this type of harm.
Many of you have expressed an almost obsessive interest in the number of police we had on the street that night. I have always told you that we don’t discuss the numbers for security reasons. Why would anyone want to give riot instigators more aid to commit their crimes?
The review of course reveals the number and the fact that it was doubled in less than two hours but it confirms that there is no plausible number of police that could have prevented what happened."