A study including interviews with 270 people who took part in riots in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, showed a strong sense of anti-police sentiment. Many rioters, even if they were not based in London, cited the shooting of Mark Duggan as the reason for their involvement.
In particular, police usage of ‘stop and search’ seemed to be decisive factor. The Reading the Riots study found that 73% of those interviewed said they had been stopped and searched in the previous 12 months.
Others who took part in the riots talked about a lack of jobs and a feeling that they were not treated well by society.
For some, however, the riots presented an opportunity to bypass normal rules and help themselves to items they could not afford.
The, report commissioned by The Guardian and the London School of Economics, found that most rioters were young and male but that they came from a variety of backgrounds.
Just under half were students, while 59% of those not in education and of working age were unemployed.
Contrary to David Cameron’s assertion, gang culture did not seem to play a large role in the riots.
The study concluded that:
“Rioters identified a range of political grievances, but at the heart of their complaints was a pervasive sense of injustice. For some this was economic: the lack of money, jobs or opportunity.
“For others it was more broadly social: how they felt they were treated compared with others. Many mentioned the increase in student tuition fees and the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance.”