1. ITV Report

UK riots repeat possible, say one in four young people

Scenes of the riots in London last year Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

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

It reveals 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.

Police close to a fire near Reeves Corner, Croydon Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

The poll, commissioned by StreetChance and Barclays Spaces for Sports, 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%) believe that it could happen again this summer. Just over two-fifths (43%) 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%) said youngsters got involved so that they could boast to their friends.

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

A total of 13.8% 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%) 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.

Fire raging through a building in Tottenham during last summer's riots Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

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.

About two-fifths (43.2%) said that the riots could happen again because young people are as bored, or more so, than they were last year, while 40% said relations between youngsters and the police have failed to improve.

A total of 37.9% do not believe the Government has done enough to address the needs of the younger generation, with a further 35.7% saying that the gap between rich and poor has either widened or stayed the same.

On a positive note, half (51.4%) of the young people questioned said that an increase in free sporting facilities would help to prevent a repeat of the riots.