Monday, June 28, 2010

Enough With The Police Bashing

Well, I have to vent and here and now is the time. As I have read through opinion pieces by bloggers, reporters, and commenters, I keep hearing about how the police failed in their duties in protecting the city. How the police started harrassing innocent journalists and citizens on the streets. The outrages over broken windows and trashed police cruisers while the police stood around and let it happen. I am sorry if I will be stepping on a few toes here, but that's just the way it is. Now this will entirely be an opinion piece from my personal experience and view points. I will try not to temper it as by blood is doing a slow boil here. It needs to be said and said bluntly.

It's time to look at what happened and how. The level of policing in the city has been at a high level for the past couple of weeks. The numbers thrown around have the total police putting in overtime at 15,000 plus. As well as the RCMP. First off the RCMP weren't dealing with any of the protesters at all. They were detailed with the actual security of the delegates in the security perimeter for the G20 summit downtown. There were actually two security perimeters, I will have pictures of that later on today, The interior perimeter was entirely controlled by the RCMP and only those people with approved security were allowed into that zone. It was set up around the Royal York hotel and encompassed access to the Metro Toronto Convention Center. I don't have any idea how far it went, I just know that it enclosed most of Front street from Bay all the way past John Street with portions north and south of Front street. Around that, up to Wellington and portions of other streets was the secondary perimeter controlled by the police. Many different regions involved with that security. A security pass was needed to gain simple access to that area.

Now lets look at those numbers of police, 15,000 for the low end estimate. Not all 15,000 troops were on duty at one time. From what I can guess, they were broken down into three shifts so you would have on average 5,000 police on duty at any given time. Union rules? I highly doubt that, more like common sense to try to keep as many of the police as fresh as possible for their duties and responsibilities.

Now lets use that number of 5,000 police on duty per shift. Unlike the protesters they couldn't gather together in one location to confront the rabble. They had to be deployed at the security barrier and in other locations to block the routes of march. They knew the main route, so they could block off intersections at key locations with back up. One rumour I heard was that there were three main groups of protesters marching from three different locations. Two locations were the protests at Queen's Park, and Allen Gardens. That splits the reaction force into two bodies at once. As well you have police doing escort duty along side streets with the protesters blocking traffic to keep the protest marching uneventfully.

Still with me here? I said I had a lot to say. Now, when the protesters got down to Queen street and University they met the cordon of police officers blocking them from reaching the first fence. Not only were they deployed at Queen and University, but all other North/South streets along Queen leading to the security zones. Figure about at least 200 police officers at each intersection going east to west from Spadina to Parliment. I will wait for you to get a map and calculator to figure that number out. (hint, think several thousand just for that blockage alone and I am guessing at the number needed at each intersection). You could probably halve that number and still end up with a couple thousand. Now, don't forget you need a speedy reactionary force to go between hot spots as they develop. Are you starting to get an idea of the logistics here yet?

You also must realize that the whole goal of the protesters was to get a large enough force down to the security fence to try and breech it. They said enough numerous times. The police force goal was to keep them out of there. Who had the easier task?

So when the protests finally got violent the police were scattered all over the place. As well the main groups broke up into smaller groups and started moving all over the place making the polices job a lot harder to contain them. When the police car was stopped and attacked at King and Bay streets there was a cordon of police just in the south side of the interesection. The complaint was that they did nothing. Of course they did nothing. If they had moved even 5 feet forward to confront the Black Bloc attacking and defacing the cruiser, the crowd would have overwhelmed them and raced down to the security fence. The same could be true for the incident at Spadina and Queen.

I know how crowd control works. I had the fortune for being trained for it as part of peacekeeping duties over twenty years ago. At the same time and era I participated in crowd control duties and know what happens when a line breaks. It's not a pretty sight or a fun experience. lucky for me the protesters weren't violent and when the reserve troops arrived we were able to contain the break. This weekend in Toronto, the police wouldn't have been so lucky.

I think I have said enough for now. I will continue this rant later on when I calm down a bit.

Update: Welcome Lumpy, Grumpy, and Frumpy readers and Five Feet of Fury readers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi just wondering, if someone throws a brick through my window, or burns my car, does this mean I'm allowed to run down the street attacking anyone I see?