The causes of last summer's riots

Poor parenting and failures on the behalf of schools have been cited as reasons for the outbreak of riots seen across England last summer. In a new report, the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel also found a lack of confidence in the police and the justice system's inability to stop individuals from repeat offending were also to blame for the acts of violence.

The study highlighted 500,000 'forgotten families' who lacked the necessary support from government and local public services, while restrictions on opportunities for young people were also presented as reasons for the episode.

It recommended a number of ways in which action could be taken to prevent a repeat of the riots, including the mentoring of young offenders when they come to the end of their prison sentence and the identifying of children from the age of 11 who are likely to face unemployment.

Darra Singh, chairman of the panel - which was set up to examine why the unrest took place - claimed everybody needs to be handed a stake in society, adding: "When people don't feel they have a reason to stay out of trouble, the consequences for communities can be devastating."

Paul Matthias, Chartered Psychologist and former Detective Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, commented: "There are many factors that may have contributed to the aggressive behaviour and sustained illegal acts witnessed during the 2011 riots.

"The number of instances where adult family members were involved in the activities with their children indicates the lack of parental discipline and guidance to young people.

"This lack of correctly supporting their children extends to their relationship with schools where often the apparent attitude of parents is for schools to be responsible for overall behaviours and installing self discipline. Teachers and other school staff often feel threatened by young people's behaviour and often claim they have no powers to effectively control children in their charge.

"Further, they would not be supported by parents or relevant authorities if they attempted to stop the displays of aggressive and gang style grouping developing.

"Many young people who mature earlier find a lack possibly of consistent and clear rules of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and attitudes. Psychologists have repeatedly sought to raise awareness of identifying indicators of disposition to anti-social behaviour within young children and the role of positive mentoring and other interventions."

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