VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The results of an independent review into the Stanley Cup riot are now out.

The report makes 53 recommendations. It finds crowds the night of Game 7 overwhelmed police and civic event planners. Rampant alcohol set the stage for a nasty turn of events.

Close to 450 police officers from across the region were deployed as the violence began. That number grew to 928 as the night went on. That’s an acceptable number, says riot review co-chairs John Furlong and Doug Keefe, but the extreme growth in crowds overwhelmed the police, allowing them to lose control of the downtown core.

The report says the riot was fueled by booze and people communicating via social media. It points out that by 6 p.m., 200,000 people had come into the downtown core on transit. It recommends TransLink do a better job of using its police force to check for booze as crowds enter the city.

Would more police officers have made a difference? “There were simply too many people for any plausible number of police. I think if you an individual officer, of course you would have wanted more officers,” Keefe acknowledges.

The report doesn’t recommend a regional police force. “Because the VPD had the resources they wanted. They had the RCMP tactical troop. They had the ability, as they demonstrated, to draw on the entire region,” Keefe explains.

But they do say better communication and training between forces is needed. For example, the VPD called in tactical equipment at 8 p.m. on June 15, but Surrey RCMP didn’t get that message until 20 minutes later. Some police equipment including radios and riot gear were either faulty or couldn’t get to certain areas where emergency responders were overwhelmed with violent situations.

“Municipalities and the provincial government need to establish a procedure to declare an event a regional event, and a public safety plan for that event,” says Keefe, which would include the ability to immediately shut down transit into downtown when crowds start to get rowdy.

The recommendations also include a suggestion for the City of Vancouver to establish a Major Event Planning Team, to deal with big events like this. But it also contains criticism for the city, namely for ad-hoc planning and for trying to keep policing and event planning costs within the existing budget framework.

It also recommends the attorney general create a process or special court to quickly deal with rioters.

The co-chairs also say police plans were prepared without any political influence or interference. The cost of the report was just over $313,000 and included the salaries of the co-chairs.