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

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little