Press release

Independent riot motivation findings published

The Cabinet Office today published independent research which examines the motivations of young people involved in the August riots.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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. NatCen, Britain’s largest independent social research organisation, aims to promote a better-informed society through high quality social research.

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 5 riot-affected areas, and 2 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. The independent research was carried out by NatCen during August, September and October 2011.

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.

Published 2 November 2011