SOCIETY Unemployment blamed for spate of rioting

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The Independent Online
Lack of job opportunities, family breakdown, and poor police relations must all be tackled to prevent further rioting on rundown estates, according to a study supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

A report on 13 neighbourhoods across England and Wales where riots took place in the early 1990s concludes that they occurred through the "fatal combination" of large numbers of young people without jobs and inconsistent policing. Concentrations of the young on the riot estates were far higher than for the country as a whole, and in some areas over half the residents were aged under 24. Unlike the inner-city disorders of the early 1980s, the vast majority of rioters were white.

The report calls for three main areas to tackle the problems - more family and community support, better education, training and jobs and changing allocation policies that lead to the "dumping" of lone parents and other vulnerable families on unpopular estates.

"One striking feature of the riot areas was that they had all been the target for major government programmes," said Rebecca Tunstall, co-author of the report. "Yet the focus on short-term improvements did little to change the prospects for young men, who by rioting destroyed many of the community's hard-won gains."

Dangerous Disorder: Riots and Violent Disturbances in 13 Areas of Britain, 1991-92; available from York Publishing Services, 64 Hallfield Rd, Layerthorpe, York, YO3 7XQ; pounds 11.45

Glenda Cooper