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Undercover cop infiltrated torch protesters' ranks

An undercover cop watched Lower Mainland anti-Olympic torch relay protesters in the rear-view mirror on Oct. 30, according to Victoria Police chief Jamie Graham.

"You knew that the protesters weren't that organized when on the ferry on the way over they all rented a bus, they all came over on a bus, and there was a cop driving the bus!” Graham told the 12th Vancouver International Security Conference on Monday.

Graham said protesters were “probably going to be violent,” so uniformed police infiltrated the crowd. A group of 300 people, many in Hallowe’en costumes, peacefully blocked traffic, diverted the torch relay and delayed its arrival at the Parliament Buildings.

“The relationships individual field officers have with protesters and so on just kills these kinds of disturbances and it worked extremely well,” he said.

Graham described the $220,000 policing bill as “well beyond our ability to pay,” but worth it.

"Police departments from all over the country have taken our game plan, our operational plan and adopted it as their own,” he said.

The day was not without incident. Graham said two ferry passengers were arrested for dumping water on an undercover security person, while two motorcycle cops wiped out on slippery pavement. “One of them was hurt quite badly, but has since recovered,” he said.

Meanwhile, a secondary security vehicle "got T-boned by an old guy who ran a red light.”

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

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