One in four teenagers predict repeat
of rioting

More than one in four young people believe that the riots seen last summer could be repeated this year, a survey has found.

The poll, commissioned by StreetChance and Barclays Spaces for Sports, found that many youngsters say boredom, copycat behaviour, peer pressure, jealousy and fears about the future caused last year’s scenes of disorder and violence, and that little has changed.

About three in ten of those questioned also said that the sentences and punishments handed out to those who took part in the riots were too soft.

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Researchers asked just over 1,000 12 to 18-year-olds for their views of the riots which overshadowed the summer of 2011.

The findings, which come exactly a year after the violence broke out, show that more than a quarter (27.8 per cent) believe that it could happen again this summer. Just over two-fifths (43 per cent) were not sure and the rest did not think that there will be further outbreaks of unrest.

More than half of those surveyed said that the riots happened because young people were simply copying what they saw others doing and more than a third (37.5 per cent) said youngsters got involved so that they could boast to their friends.

A similar proportion (36.6 per cent) thought that boredom among young people was a cause, with a fifth (20.4 per cent) saying there was concern about the future and jealousy of other people’s money and possessions.

Altogether 13.8 per cent thought that the actions of the police had led to young people rioting.

Of those that said the police were a cause, two-fifths (40.3 per cent) said it was because the police are seen as racist by young people.

Similar proportions said that there is widespread distrust and dislike of the police by young people, and that they over-reacted to an incident.

Among those that predicted that there could be a repeat of last year’s violence, the main reason given was that the chances of young people getting a job have either not improved or worsened.

Cricket Foundation chief executive Wasim Khan said: “The fear among a quarter of young people of a repeat of the riots this summer is a cause for concern.

“Free sporting activities are just one measure that can help keep children out of trouble and thousands of children are now playing cricket, rather than playing up,” he added.