Letter: Brixton: the part played by police in a protest-turned- riot

From Ms Jo Gardiner

Sir: Recent images of Brixton have focused attention on one community ("Alienated youth still harbours deep grudges", 15 December). But the Brixton riot should be seen as more than "a little local difficulty". Politicians and community leaders cannot afford to ignore the fundamental issues that lie behind violence.

Nationally, young people are marginalised and disaffected. Industrial Society research shows that young people aged between 12 and 25 are articulate and self-motivated, but display an alarming pessimism about future social values and employment opportunities.

There is no point in asking people to behave responsibly when they can see no opportunity to make a valued contribution. Long-term partnerships between all stakeholders will do more to tackle the causes of destructive cynicism than short-term measures aimed only at the symptoms of disenfranchised youth. Until we listen to young people, and create opportunities for them to use their energy to more positive ends, we will never benefit from their creativity and idealism.

Yours faithfully,

Jo Gardiner

2020 Vision

Industrial Society

London, W1

15 December

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