Cabinet Office
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Independent riot motivation findings published

The Cabinet Office yesterday published independent research which examines the motivations of young people involved in the August riots. The report is the first, and currently only, major study to be based on what young people themselves have to say about the riots.

The study was delivered by an experienced team of qualitative researchers at NatCen who conducted interviews and focus groups with young people, business owners, youth workers and community leaders in affected and non-affected areas, speaking both to those directly involved and those who chose not to be.

The evidence-based analysis provides Cabinet Office, wider Government departments and the Independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel, with a deeper understanding of the contributing factors for the sequence of events which took place this summer.

The report focuses on the motivations of young people in five riot-affected areas, and two areas which did not riot. It analyses how young people’s motivations were shaped by a dramatic and unfamiliar set of circumstances, reactions to which are bedded in situational, individual, societal, family and community factors. Whilst examining the background to the riots, the report retains a clear focus on the moral and practical decisions made by different people themselves.

Penny Young, Chief Executive of NatCen comments:

This is the first research to hear directly from young people about the riots. It is clear from the findings that there is no simple explanation as to why young people got involved, but it is extremely beneficial in aiding our insights into what happened and exploring different motivational factors.

Notes to Editors

  1. The independent research was carried out by researchers NatCen during August, September and October 2011.
  2. NatCen, Britain’s largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research.

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