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Olympics security not Vancouver’s domain: city manager

VANCOUVER - 2010 Games security forces operate outside of civic control, Vancouver’s city manager said yesterday.

“The city has no accountability in terms of the role, the policies of the [2010 Integrated Security Unit],” Penny Ballem told council. “We are only able to ask questions.”

Ballem made her remarks in the context of a presentation from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s Cameron Funnell.

The BCCLA spokesperson appeared in council to raise a number of issues not covered by RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer’s presentation earlier this week.

Is there a consistent policy for Taser use? How will complaints against security forces be dealt with? Where will protest zones be located? And how big will they be?

“We still have many outstanding concerns,” Funnell said.

The city manager suggested Funnell take his questions to the federal government, which has primary oversight of the ISU.

“That would probably be the most productive way,” Ballem said.

The ISU is led by the RCMP, but composed of many different government agencies and municipal police forces, including the Vancouver Police Department.

That’s a fact councillors should keep in mind, Olympics critic Chris Shaw said.

“I understand that the police belong to them, whether they’re seconded to the ISU or not.”

During the Games, Vancouver and Whistler will be home to 7,000 police, 4,500 armed forces and 5,000 private security guards.

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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