By Andrew Holt
Over a quarter (28 per cent) of young people aged 12 to 18 believe rioting will erupt again this summer, according to a new survey published today.
Nearly two fifths (38 per cent) of the 1,008 respondents who participated in the national survey, commissioned by StreetChance and Barclays Spaces for Sports, believed rioting could reoccur this summer because the Government had failed to listen to the needs of young people.
When asked what they believe caused young people to get involved in the riots last year, almost three fifths (59 per cent) of respondents said it was down to copycat behaviour – ‘young people just copying what they saw others doing’.
A third of teenagers said their peers got involved either so they could boast to their friends (38 per cent), or because too many of them were bored (37 per cent); with not enough free activities for young people (24 per cent).
Only 14 per cent of respondents blamed police actions for inciting young people to get involved in the rioting; but of those who did, two fifths stated that it is because the police ‘are seen as racist by young people’.
StreetChance is an inner-city cricket initiative run in partnership between the Cricket Foundation and Barclays Spaces for Sports to divert young people away from youth crime and anti-social behaviour through free, yearlong cricket sessions.
The scheme also aims to break down barriers between police and young people through special ‘Peace at the Crease’ events where children and local officers play tape-ball cricket with and against each other.
According to the StreetChance survey, the majority of young people (51%) think free sports activities would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to help prevent a repeat of the riots; while a quarter felt the riots were partly caused by a lack of free activities.
Wasim Khan, chief executive at the Cricket Foundation said: “The fear among a quarter of young people of a repeat of the riots this summer is a cause for concern.
"Free sporting activities are just one measure that can help keep children out of trouble and thousands of children are now playing cricket, rather than playing up, as a result of StreetChance.”
Other findings of the survey include:
• More than half (55 per cent) of young people think the riots have increased a view among adults that all young people are criminals
• While 30 per cent of respondents feel the sentences meted out to rioters were too soft; 58 per cent felt they would act as a deterrent
• 43 per cent of those who felt the police caused the riots say there is widespread distrust of the police among young people
• 41 per cent of respondents who felt the police were the cause of the riots felt it was because they overacted to an incident/incidents
• A third of teens said they did not feel positive about their future, with eight out of 10 attributing this to a lack of job opportunities.
Since its London launch in 2008, StreetChance has engaged nearly 25,000 young people, aged eight to 18. In June 2012, it received a £1 million National Lottery grant from Sport England to extend street cricket sessions to 16-24 year olds, who are at risk of dropping out of sport after leaving formal education.
The initiative now operates in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Hull and Dewsbury, working with county cricket boards to deliver the coaching and competition programme in areas lacking existing clubs, facilities and general opportunities to play cricket.
Participants also have the option of volunteering on the programme or training to be an apprentice coach.
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