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RCMP say Boonstock needs to reimburse government for additional police costs

September 10, 2014 - 10:20 AM

PENTICTON - RCMP say Boonstock organizers need to reimburse the provincial government for additional police officers required during the festival weekend, after private security failed to provide adequate resources.

The two final days of the festival required additional personnel since RCMP had to shift their focus to security and public safety. A new cost analysis estimates the province spent an extra $50,000 stacking the festival with enough officers to manage the event. Boonstock organizers originally paid $200,000 to the government for the number of police originally required. Their bill now totals $250,000.

"We can only speculate what the numbers might have been had we been left to simply police the event as planned," says Superintendent Kevin Hewco. "A great deal of discretion was used during the event for lesser offences when our role changed from enforcement to security and public safety.”

RCMP say the lack of a liquor license at the event likely kept policing costs from increasing even more.

"I believe that the security concerns that we identified would only have been compounded had the event been issued a liquor licence," Hewco says. "Our ability to maintain order and relative safety at this event is attributable to our increased resources and the limited availability of liquor on site.”

There were 150 case files opened over the festival weekend, and 38 prisoners held from the event alone, according to RCMP.

"The planning of any major event plays a significant role in its success and safety," he says. "From our view, I cannot label this event as a success, especially considering the fact that a young woman died.”

Penticton RCMP will continue to work with local government and Boonstock organizers for any future events to ensure proper safety and security resources are secured.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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