Riots 'likely to happen again' unless action is taken to heal divisions between teenagers and authorities, panel predicts

 

Riots like those which rocked England last year are likely to happen again in the future unless action is taken to heal the divisions between teenagers and the authorities, according to a panel of young people who have been looking into the impacts of the disturbances.

The group said that another incident like the shooting of Mark Duggan or an issue like the tuition fees row could spark off another spate of disturbances because, they said, “the mindset cannot be changed in the course of one government”. But, they said, the situation seemed to have calmed for now.

The panel, which has been working with the Children’s Society, said that things were improving but some of the scars of last year’s riots were still visible in their own communities.

“I know my area has developed a lot over the past year, it has become a really nice place, it is more like a tourist attraction now. It is really nice, things are getting better,” said Beatrice Fowowe, 14, from Woolwich in south east London.

But she added: “There are shops which were looted and burned out which have not been repaired, I don’t know if they ever will be repaired.”

The group said they would like to see more activities for young people, which are threatened by government cuts, an improvement in their relationship with police and politicians and a more accurate portrayal in the media, all of which could help prevent similar disturbances.

A survey they conducted found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that their peers thought the two main drivers behind the riots were the shooting of Mr Duggan and the wider state of mistrust between the police and young people. But the panel added that, while many of the people involved in the riots were genuinely angry, they thought their involvement was born more out of opportunism, bolstered by their sense of injustice.

Kim Emenike, 13, said: “People just wanted to riot, it had little to do with the government, I don’t think people were thinking about the fees issue during the riots.” Rasheeda Miller said, a 14-year-old panel-member, said: “It all added to their excuse, the anger added to the reasons behind the rioting.”

Beatrice Fowowe added that she believed that young people suffered from unfairly negative coverage in the media. “I feel that young people are portrayed in quite a negative way. When young people do positive things you don't seem to hear about them in the media. It is only negative things,” she said.

Speaking after the conference, which took place this morning, Elaine Hindal, of the Children’s Society, said the organisation could see “no evidence” to suggest a repeat of the disorder on the streets of London and other major cities last August was imminent.

But she said there was concern over the impact of cuts on projects designed to help boost self-esteem and resilience among young people.

“We are concerned that in the current climate we are seeing some examples of where services are being cut back, they are preventative services, particularly for adolescents, that will help them develop self-esteem and resilience and help support them in positive community activities,” she said.

Asked about whether the riots could be repeated, she said: “We do not see that at the moment. I do not think we have got any evidence to suggest that would be the case but I think we were all taken by surprise by what happened last year.

“I think we always have to be alert to that possibility but there is no evidence that we have seen to suggest that is the case.”

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker