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Guardian: Blame the police: why the rioters say they took part

posted 5 Dec 2011, 00:32 by Alexander Voss   [ updated 5 Dec 2011, 00:34 ]
Today's Guardian begins coverage of the Reading the Riots investigation. It provides an account of the results of an investigation into what motivated rioters to take part, challenging the sometimes simplistic attributions of cause often provided just after the event. To my mind, the most striking piece is a chart that juxtaposes perceptions of the causes of the riots according to the rioters with a survey of the wider population. While the view in wider society seems to be that riots were a-political and driven by criminality, moral decline, poor parenting and gang membership, rioters cited mainly poverty, policing, government policy and unemployment. Perhaps this discrepancy is not altogether surprising but it should perhaps cause us to think about what the appropriate response is to these events.