A community take on 2010 security

The clatter of helicopters over Vancouver participating in Operation Silver, the 2010 Olympic Games security exercise, underlined the counter-terrorism element of Games preparations.

A very different perspective emerged during today’s council debate on a  motion by Councillors Raymond Louie and George Chow to cut off city funding for the Ambassadors program, the private security operation directed by a number of Business Improvement Associations.

Real community security needs to tackle the root causes of crime, argued PIVOT’s Laura Track, but it must also reflect community priorities and concerns.

“Real consultation is essential,”  she said, “to identify the security concerns of the community. One of their priorities could be the conditions of the buildings they live in.  It could be the concern of sex trade workers to be safe.  Or their concerns could relate to being illegally locked out of their rooms.” Track opposed funding for the Ambassadors based on the findings of a recent PIVOT report on private security.

Track’s comments pointed to a possible model, already used in the Carnegie Outreach Project, to deliver on the city’s IOC commitment to consult on Games security before plans are finalized. Community leaders are getting frustrated. With Operation Gold, the final exercise, planned for the fall, that consultation needs to begin soon, as council reminded its Olympic partners earlier this month.