Guardian's foundation-funded Reading the Riots project finds antipathy towards police the key driver

The Guardian today revealed that its “Reporting the riots” joint investigation with the London School of Economics has involved interviewing 270 rioters, analysing 2.5 million Twitter messages and the production of more than 1.3m words of first-person accounts from rioters.

The investigation has been funded by the Rowntree and Open Society Foundations (more details in Press Gazette preview piece from Friday).

It is an impressive piece of research which challenges many of the political statements and media reports/opinion about the August riots across England which led to five deaths and more than 4,000 arrests.

According to The Guardian:

Distrust and apathy towards the police was cited as the driving force for rioters (so not mindless criminality and economic deprivation).

Facebook and Twitter were not significant channels in fermenting the unrest (but Blackberry Messenger was).

Reading the Riots will be running in The Guardian all this week and involved a team of 60 academics, journalists and researchers working over three months.

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