Panel warns of return to riots during Olympics

England could be hit by more riots next northern summer - possibly during the London Olympics - without urgent action to tackle the causes and to improve policing in potential hotspots, a government-commissioned report warned yesterday.

It said some factors behind the looting, such as poverty, joblessness and grievances about the police, remained potent problems in parts of major cities.

The investigation by the independent Riots, Communities and Victims Panel also said victims of the riot violence were struggling to get compensation.

Darra Singh, the panel's chairman, said: "While deprivation is not an excuse for criminal behaviour, we must seek to tackle the underlying causes of the riots or they will happen again."

Maeve Sherlock, a panel member, said there was widespread anger, in areas hit by trouble, over inequalities and injustices with people pointing to bankers' bonuses and the MPs' expenses scandal.

The panel was set up by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg after the August disturbances which spread from London to cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

The panel concluded that had the police been "more robust" in dealing with the riots in London, the violence might not have spread.

- Independent

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