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British Riots: Young People Looking for ‘buzz’, Report Claims

Posted on the 04 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

British riots: Young people looking for ‘buzz’, report claims

Riots on the streets of Tottenham. Photo credit: Nico Hogg,

Young people involved in the violent, arson-filled riots that spread across England in early August were just looking for something to do and a chance to score free stuff, according to a report released this week from the Cabinet Office.

The study, which examined the motivations of only the youth involved in the August riots, found that those young rioters and looters saw the riots as “an exciting event – a day like no other – described in terms of a wild party or ‘like a rave.’” Others saw the rioting and looting, which broke out in Tottenham in North London on August 6 and soon spread to other parts of the city and country over the next several days, as a chance to get free stuff or an opportunity to get back at police. The riots in Tottenham were sparked by the death of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old Tottenham man who was shot by police during an attempted arrest (police, theBBC reported, were aware that the shooting would lead to violence – at odds with their previous claim to have been taken by surprise by the riots); from there, they spread into violent reaction against police authority in general. Others interviewed cited peer pressure and boredom as why they got involved.

The report, conducted by the National Centre for Social research, also examined the reasons why young people in those areas didn’t riot – those who were involved in their communities and had clear messages from their parents or guardians that the rioting was wrong stayed away.

The Guardian is doing a series on the deeper causes behind the riots, called “Reading the Riots”. It’s a flash looking site, but hasn’t been updated in about a month.

Children are feral. This study comes hard on the heels of another, conducted by the children’s charity Barnardo’s and flagged up by The Daily Mail: A survey of 2,000 Britons found that half believe that children in this country are “feral”, violent animals, while 10 percent felt that many were “beyond help”. Britons, unlike their Continental counterparts, don’t seem to believe that children are everyone’s responsibility and are less willing to be supportive of children and parents. Anne Marie Carrie, chief executive of the charity, worried that though a small number of children participated in the August rioting, for example, many adults use incidents like those to stigmatise all children. She told The Mail, “What hope is there for childhood in the UK today if this is how adults think?”

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