Deep-seated anger and frustration towards the police was a significant factor behind the August riots, which broke out in London, a study into the causes of the unrest has found.
Analysts, who studied 270 interviews with people who took part in the disturbances, said distrust and antipathy towards officers was a key driving force behind why thousands took to the streets.
A complex mix of other political, social and economic grievances also contributed to the unprecedented trouble, according to the research conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) and The Guardian.
Out of those questioned, 85% said policing was an “important” or “very important” factor in why the riots happened. It was second only to poverty, which saw 86% of rioters class it as one of the main causes of the four consecutive nights of unrest during the summer.
LSE appointed experts analysed 1.3 million words from first-person accounts of rioters who took part in the disturbances, as part of the project called Reading the Riots. A database of more than 2.5 million riot-related tweets was also used as part of the unique research.
According to the data, 80% of rioters said government policy was an “important” or “very important” cause of the riots, with unemployment scoring 79%, the shooting of Mark Duggan scoring 75% and social media -- which is believed to have helped facilitate the spread of the trouble across the UK’s cities -- scoring 74%.
Other major factors included media coverage, greed, inequality, boredom, criminality, moral decline and racial tensions, the study found. Poor parenting and gangs were also said to be an important cause of the trouble, which led to the deaths of five people and saw more than 4,000 arrested.
Two thirds of those interviewed said they had been cautioned by police or convicted of an offence in the past. The riots broke out in Tottenham, north London, on August 6, following the fatal shooting by police of Mr Duggan, 29.
It then spread to other parts of the capital and other English cities including Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Salford.
Rioters blame police for unrest