As the B.C Crown approved 18 more charges against seven suspected rioters in last year’s Stanley Cup unrest, the Vancouver Police Department has launched a new ad campaign to solicit tips from the public.
The charges, announced Monday, mean the Crown has so far agreed to lay 171 charges against 64 suspected rioters. That compares to 432 charges recommended by police against 150 suspected rioters.
Sergeant Howard Chow, speaking for the force, said on Monday the campaign is aimed at continuing the momentum of previous promotional efforts to get the public to keep going over police websites to generate tips on suspects.
“It’s another investigative step,” he said in an interview.
Previous promotions have included a poster campaign, the release of video, and news conferences. Now for the first time posters are going up in 10 transit shelters, on space donated by the City of Vancouver, leaving the cost of the promotion at $600, police said.
Another promotional campaign measure is planned for Thursday, and a new tactic involving social media is in the works for announcement soon, Sgt. Chow said.
“It’s just to continue the momentum,” he said. “When you ask, ‘Why now?’ I can say that all along there have been strategies. It’s about drawing people back to our website.”
Also Monday, Vancouver police announced they are recommending an additional 82 charges against 25 people, including 19-year-old twins from Victoria accused of kicking a police car.
It will be up to the Crown to decide whether to actually lay charges.
“The pace is going exactly as we planned,” Inspector Les Yeo, commander of the Integrated Riot Investigation Team, told a news conference. “We said right from the very beginning, we have to take our time and now that process is rolling out.”
He noted the pace includes the recent first “substantial” sentencing of a rioter, who was ordered jailed for 17 months. And on Friday, a 19-year-old Surrey resident pleaded guilty to participating in a riot. Sentencing for Emmanuel Alviar is set for May 3.
“Whether it takes two months, four months, nine months or a year, we will hold people accountable for what they did,” Insp. Yeo said.
He said he expected the riot file will be closed within a year, but declined to say how many more months he thinks his team will be working the case.
“I can’t forecast the future,” he said, “but we will hold as many as we can accountable.”