What caused this summer’s riots in London, Birmingham, Manchester and elsewhere? Rampant hooliganism, say some members of the government. But a new report from The Guardian and the London School of Economics (LSE) titled Reading the Riots paints a different picture, suggesting that the root cause of the problem was anger at police.
The killing of Mark Duggan was nominally supposed to have been the trigger for the riots, but most people accept that the scenes of violence that followed were barely connected to the Duggan case. Events gained a kind of hellish momentum, and ascribing a single motive to so many disparate rioters would be foolish. Nevertheless, the new report suggests that anger at police was a common underlying problem.
The key sentiment of the rioters appears to have been a sense of injustice, but such grievances had many different targets. But it appears to have been police, on the frontline night after night, who bore the brunt of much of the anger, although many people will likely question whether this anger was misdirected and was instead coming from somewhere else.