Thursday, September 1, 2011

Riot report out today

Riot report out today: Update to blog post below, following release of the report: Recommendations #47, that more CCTV cameras be installed in downtown Vancouver using "existing" Olympic infrastructure, and #51, that the RCMP consider purchasing an LRAD for "loud hailing" the crowd, confirm my psychic abilities.

However, these recommendations are not overly emphasized in the report, and will likely take second fiddle to those contained in the executive summary, so chalk one point against me for over-emphasizing the under-emphrasized. The future, I see it, but it is blurry...

Read the full report here.


The riot report will be released this afternoon.

I was pretty surprised to hear that former 2010 Olympic organizer John Furlong had been tapped to review the Game 7 riot that took place in Vancouver during the Stanley Cup. The reason is simple: Mr. Furlong had taken a lot of heat, from the BCCLA and others, about excessive security measures including $900m in still unaccounted for security spending.

For example, last week I was at the Notting Hill Carnival Festival in London, England. This is Europe's largest festival, and the world's second largest following Rio's Carnival in Brazil. The cost to police it? 6.3m pounds total over two days last year or 3.15m GBP per day. The Olympics were 17 days. 17 days x 3.15m GBP = 53.55m GBP = $107.1m CDN.

$107.1m Canadian? Yes. But of course, the Olympics were in two locations, Whistler and Vancouver, so let's double that. $214.2m. But Dave, you say, the Olympic period was actually more like 30 days, so let's double that again! $428.4m.

Still missing somewhere in the neighbourhood of $500m. What better way to demonstrate that money was not wasted on Olympic security than to use this riot report to vindicate the most controversial expenses?

In the report, watch for:

Vindication of CCTV: The report will vindicate the use of Olympic CCTV cameras, saying that more surveillance cameras should be deployed during public events. CCTV was a massive expense during the Games, with hundreds of leased cameras monitoring people in public spaces during the entire Olympic period.

This recommendation in the wake of the riot, of course, will be absurd, as everyone realizes that the most effective surveillance came from cell phones of people in the crowd, making this riot one of the most heavily documented and recorded, possibly in history, and certainly in Canada. Cameras made no difference in several days of rioting in London, one of the most heavily surveilled cities in the world.

A business case for the sonic cannon: The report will attempt to rehabilitate the "sonic cannon" MRAD crowd control weapon, purchased secretly by the Vancouver Police Department in the leadup to the Olympics. It will be sold as a "public address system," despite the fact that cheaper and more effective portable public address systems exist, they just don't have the weapon feature.

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