Depending on how the Vancouver Canucks do in this season’s National Hockey League playoffs, the tab for policing costs could range from $67,000 to $1 million.
Those are the estimates outlined in a Vancouver Police Department report that went before city council last week. The report breaks down the costs for each playoff round, assuming all series go to seven games.
Round one, which begins next week, is estimated at $67,472, round two at $86,488, round three at $163,744 and round four, which is the Stanley Cup Final, at $752,963 for a total of $1,070, 667.
“The deployment levels are designed to ensure that there is visible police presence in the downtown core prior to game times and during the arrival of celebratory fans throughout the event,” the report said. “Fan reaction will be monitored on a game-by-game basis and may necessitate an increase in deployment levels.”
The VPD purposely omitted details from the report on how many officers will be deployed for this season’s playoff run, citing “operational safety reasons.” All police will say is the deployment will be “more robust” than the 2011 plan.
Last season, 446 officers were assigned to police the city for the final game June 15 between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins, according to an independent review of the riot conducted by Douglas Keefe and John Furlong.
That number included members of the RCMP and suburban police departments. The riot, which erupted after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, triggered more officers to respond to downtown, for a total of 928 by night’s end.
This season’s playoffs begin April 11, although it still hadn’t been determined Monday whether the Canucks will be in action at Rogers Arena that night or the following night.
While Mayor Gregor Robertson and city manager Penny Ballem made it clear the city will not encourage large public gatherings downtown, police expect crowds will naturally congregate to the Granville Street strip during the playoffs.
“Given our local experience with crowd behaviour, building on the experiences of other cities, and understanding the lessons learned from the recent riot reviews, it is clear that the VPD must deploy sufficient police resources to provide safety and security to the citizens that gather to celebrate responsibly, while dealing swiftly with those who are intent on creating problems,” the report said.
Robertson announced last week the city advocates more family-oriented events for the playoffs, including watching games at community centres and holding block parties.
More details of the city’s plan, which includes the VPD and TransLink, will be revealed if the Canucks make it to the third round of the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Canucks rolled out the “This is our home” campaign, featuring current and former Canucks encouraging people to celebrate responsibly during the playoffs.
So far, the VPD’s ongoing riot investigation has resulted in police recommending 432 charges against 150 suspected rioters. Crown is working through the files and has approved 207 charges against 78 suspected rioters.
Only Ryan Dickinson, who was charged with participating in the riot, has been sentenced. Dickinson was given a 17-month jail term for his part in destroying two unmarked police cars and throwing a mannequin and newspaper box into a Black and Lee Tuxedo shop.
The VPD has yet to release costs of the riot investigation.