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Daniel Renaud July 18, 2012 (updated July 19, 2012)
Original French Text: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2012/07/18/une-escouade-plus-mordante
Photo caption: The 2012 version of the Urban Brigade has more teeth and is mobilized to assist other services charged with controlling the student demonstrations. (Archive photo.)
Compelled by student demonstrations and social context, the traditional Urban Brigade of the Montréal Police is presenting a somewhat more repressive face this summer, the Journal has noticed.
And by reason of the more movement-oriented social context, the mandate of the brigade, which normally terminates at the end of summer, could be extended into the fall if the situation warrants it; that is to say, if the protests resume in earnest.
Created in 2009, at its origin to ensure the smooth running of the many summer festivals in Montréal, the Urban Brigade of 2012 has more teeth than the three previous incarnations.
Since last Sunday, in fact, super-patrollers wearing a dark blue uniform and sporting a new turquoise shoulder patch have begun to intervene with the nightly demonstrators.
They are situated halfway between the patrol officers from neighborhood stations and those of the Groupe d’intervention (riot control). They are chosen through a selection process, receive special training and have more sophisticated equipment than patrol officers, which police headquarters refuses to identify for strategic reasons.
Unlike their colleagues from Intervention, these officers, who have several years of experience behind their Kevlar vests, do not carry a shield, so as to be more mobile.
“What strikes me from the outset is the rapidity with which demonstrations are organized over social networks. With these mobile police officers, it is our way of responding,” explained Inspector Philippe Pichet, of the Operational Planning Division of the SPVM.
“These officers are deployed when we need to make interventions a little more forcefully.”
“For example, when a demonstration begins and we have information that it might deteriorate. At the sight of these police officers, the citizens who are demonstrating should be forewarned,” continued Inspector Pichet.
No more cadets
Between Sunday and yesterday, police officers with the more “pointed” mandate had arrested two persons for violations of municipal regulations.
Unlike in previous years, the Brigade does not include cadets (students of police techniques) within its ranks.
As in past years, this year’s Brigade is partly composed of bicycle patrollers, who make up about half of its personnel.
As for investigations into the demonstrations and crimes committed in the context of the student conflict, they are no longer within the ambit of Operations Center South, but are now under the Organized Crime Division (DCO) since the Canadian Grand Prix in early June.
While the administration is satisfied with the work accomplished by investigators from the strike force set up following the incident of the smoke bombs in the métro, it decided to transfer everything to the DCO, presumably to be more effective at the level of intelligence.
Investigations are continuing, and individuals who have caused mischief in recent months are still being sought by the police.
More than a year ago, the SPVM created a squad called GAMMA to combat radical groups. However, it was dissolved shortly thereafter.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.