The cost of investigating the Stanley Cup riot that erupted downtown last June after the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 to the Boston Bruins is expected to reach $2 million by June, the Vancouver Police Department announced Wednesday.
Insp. Les Yeo of the Integrated Riot Investigation Team said the costs include overtime, the rental of cars, cellphones, computers and setting up a $500,000 video lab at the department’s Graveley Street precinct to review footage from the June 15 riot.
The costs don’t include the $7 million to pay salaries of VPD officers redeployed to the riot team and others from the RCMP and suburban departments that would have otherwise been spent on other investigations had the riot not occurred. The VPD’s share of the $7 million is $5 million and $2 million for other departments.
The number of police on the team has ranged from 50 to 70. They come from eight different departments.
So far, the provincial government has picked up $1 million of the tab and the Vancouver Police Foundation spent $31,000 on the department’s poster campaign to identify suspects in the riot.
Yeo revealed the costs at a Vancouver Police Board meeting at the Cambie Street police station. Mayor Gregor Robertson, who doubles as chairperson of the police board, told reporters after the meeting that he wants the provincial government to pay more of the costs.
“It’s a huge cost to the city on behalf of the whole province, frankly, to investigate this and to save money in court down the line because the investigation is thorough and we’re going to see guilty pleas,” Robertson said.
So far, three suspects in the riot pleaded guilty, including Ryan Dickinson of Coquitlam who received a 17-month jail term for participating in the riot and damaging police cars. To date, 508 charges were recommended to Crown counsel against 175 suspects. The Crown is working through the files and approved 225 charges against 85 suspects. Yeo said 85 per cent of the suspects are from outside Vancouver.
Yeo told the police board he expected the investigation to wind down in the summer but was clear police will continue to search for suspects. He described the investigation as the biggest of its type in Canadian history.
“Why bother keep going?” Yeo said. “We have the victims and we talk to the victims regularly. For these victims, it was an outrageous attack against them—the people in London Drugs, the people in Blenz, the people in the restaurant that were down there feared literally for their lives.”
The riot caused more than $3 million in damages and left 89 businesses ransacked, 113 vehicles —21 of which were police vehicles—damaged or destroyed. A total of 43 assaults were recorded, about a third to officers.