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Riot aftermath: Vancouver police examine tactics

Police approach and role of social media affected course of riot

By PoliceOne Staff

VANCOUVER — As the damage from the riot in Vancouver — allegedly the result of the loss of the Canucks to the Boston Bruins — began to be cleaned up, city Police Chief Jim Chu detailed how police responded as violence escalated Wednesday night.

“Sometimes you have to stop and pause before you can regain more ground,” Mr. Chu told Globe and Mail reporters during a news conference Thursday.

He said that at first, Vancouver police and other public safety officials from around the area first used the "meet-and-greet" tactic, in which officers mingle in small groups with the crowds. As the trouble escalated into full-on chaos across a busy section of downtown, however, that approach was thrown out.

"The plan shifted from meet-and-greet to regroup and deploy,” Chief Chu said.

Chief Chu said police did their best. They had on-scene backup from other regional forces, including the RCMP and police in New Westminster, West Vancouver and Port Moody as part of long-standing co-operation agreements, and about 400 officers were on hand to respond to the riots.

Police are welcoming the submission of video and pictures from members of the public to help with the investigation into the riot. Social media has escalated the investigation into the violence, and as citizens continue to come forth with evidence from cell phones and digital cameras, police have been able to identify more suspects.

Officers have also noted the way in which social media seemed to have encouraged some people to "get in on the fun," as individuals make status updates on Facebook bragging about the mayhem they encountered.

Chief Chu acknowledged calls for his resignation but he shrugged off the post-riot criticism and said he will not quit his job.

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