One of the people who investigated the 1994 Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver says many of the recommendations were ignored during Wednesday's violent incidents in the city's downtown core.

Bob Whitelaw helped write the report for the then-B.C. Police Commission, now reformed as the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.


Bob Whitelaw says too many police officers were waiting for orders rather than acting. ((CBC))

Whitelaw said he found it very frustrating to watch TV coverage of the riot in Vancouver from his home in Ottawa.

"I got out my report, I got out my background papers, and then just started that mathematical checkoff:  'Oops they missed that. Oops they missed that,'" he said.

Worse than 1994

The report recommended a large police presence on the street for future events, a ban on parking nearby, an exit route for the crowds, and enough public transit to get everyone home.

"Things went amiss. The plan seemed to go out the window, the police plan, and there was no command and control" said Whitelaw. "Once the incidents began to start, the police, in my opinion, many of them just stood to the side waiting for the next order."

Vancouver police chief Jim Chu said Thursday once the riot started, police executed their plan precisely.

"We got the situation stabilized in three hours," said Chu. "In 1994, it took almost  six hours... We had triple the number of rioters last night."

Whitelaw said Wednesday's riot was worse than the one in 1994.

He said property damage may be in the millions, but it did a billion dollars in damage to Vancouver's image.

Chu blamed anarchists for what he said was premeditated mayhem. He also said there is no question that over-consumption of alcohol had a lot to do with the misconduct on the street.

With files from the CBC's Jeff Davies