Youngsters blame poverty for riots says survey

 

Young people believe poverty is one of the key reasons behind the August riots, according to a new survey.

Behind the Riots, a survey commissioned by The Children's Society, found most 13 to 17-year-olds and adults believed that a reason why people became involved in the trouble that blighted the country was "to get goods and possessions they couldn't afford to buy".

The charity polled 1,004 adults and 1,077 13 to 17-year-olds from across the UK in an online survey between October 3 and November 10.

It said they gave a mixed picture overall, with most choosing more than one reason why the riots happened.

But 57% of 13 to 17-year-olds and 66% of adults thought people became involved to get goods and possessions they could not afford to buy.

Some 49% of 13 to 17-year-olds and 63% of adults thought they became involved "just for fun".

And 47% of 13 to 17-year-olds and 53% of adults thought they felt pressure to join in from others taking part.

Young people and adults surveyed - particularly 17 to 24-year-olds - felt children and young people would be viewed more negatively after the riots.

The report also found the majority of adults and children (51% and 56% respectively) believed the Government should be doing more to support young people since the riots.

It also showed one in seven children and young people thought they had fewer prospects for their immediate future following the riots, while 17-year-olds were most likely to cite Government cuts as a reason for the disorder, and also were most likely to say more Government support was needed after it (67%).

The findings come as Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the riots might have been avoided if police had "appreciated the magnitude of the task".

His comments come after Home Secretary Theresa May called for people to stop making excuses for those involved, saying that August's riots were simply about money and "instant gratification".

But The Children's Society's policy director Enver Solomon said: "This research shows that Theresa May is out of step with the majority of children and adults in this country when she said on Wednesday the riots were about instant gratification.

"Most people believe that the riots were caused by a whole range of factors - and poverty and material disadvantage are at the heart of it.

"Material well-being cannot be overlooked as a significant issue affecting young people today.

"We know from our work that there is a significant link between a child's material deprivation and their overall life satisfaction.

"Clearly, tackling this is crucial to avoid further unrest among children and young people.

"It is equally worrying to see just how many children and young people, already battling very negative views of themselves as a group, felt perceptions of them had got worse since the riots.

"Our findings show that there is agreement between adults and children that the Government should be providing more support to young people.

"This sends a clear message to central and local government that the public would like to see more positive activities on offer to children rather than a reduction in out of school youth provision.

"With the considerable challenges now facing children and young people in early adulthood, the case for investing in youth support must be taken seriously."

The use of water cannon and rubber bullets by police in future riots was also challenged by the committee.

The MPs said it would have been "inappropriate as well as dangerous to have employed water cannon and baton rounds".

"We agree with our witnesses, including senior police officers, that such use could have escalated and inflamed the situation further," they said.

"The lessons learnt in the past in Northern Ireland over such equipment should not be lost.

"Water cannon, in particular, are an indiscriminate weapon and could have affected bystanders, as well as rioters."

The MPs also said they saw no reason to give further powers, such as enabling them to impose curfews or remove face coverings.

"We cannot recommend any increase in police powers as a result of the August disturbances without seeing specific evidence of a need for such powers and none came our way during the inquiry."

The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers in England and Wales, said the report highlighted "the need for sufficient numbers of police officers who can be called upon as and when they are needed".

Simon Reed, the federation's vice-chairman, said: "The very nature of policing is that it is unpredictable and an emergency service.

"We need to ensure that the police service has the resilience, police officer numbers, training and equipment to deal with whatever is thrown at it; this is the very basis of our concern about the Government cuts of 20% to the policing budget.

"We recognise that initially it was difficult to cope with the widespread and unprecedented disorder we witnessed in August this year but, through sufficient police officer numbers, we were able to contain the situation and restore order to the streets across the UK."

He went on: "Our genuine fear is, should a similar situation occur again in future years, that despite our very best efforts, with less police officers and the impact of the budget cuts on training, we would struggle to protect the public and any lessons learned now would be wasted.

"I don't know how the Government decide what price they place on public safety but this report further compounds our view that cutting the police budget is inadvisable and could jeopardise public safety."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence