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UK riots caused by demoralized youth, panel says

Poor schooling and inadequate support for demoralized young people were root causes of the riots that shook Britain last year, a panel set up to draw lessons from the unrest has found.

The Riots, Communities and Victims Panel said inadequate schooling, poor parenting and lack of confidence in the police all contributed to the outbreak of violence in British cities in August last year.

"When people don't feel they have a reason to stay out of trouble, the consequences for communities can be devastating," said panel chairman Darra Singh.

"We must give everyone a stake in society," he said.

"There are people bumping along the bottom, unable to change their lives," he said, referring to around 500,000 "forgotten families."

The panel on Wednesday issued a series of recommendations to government and local authorities, which they said should be enacted in concert for the best outcome.

"Should disturbances happen again, victims and communities will ask our leaders why we failed to respond effectively in 2012," they wrote.

The recommendations included fining schools that failed to teach kids to read and write and a government guarantee to find work for young people who have been jobless for more than two years.

The panel was set up by the government but worked independently, interviewing thousands of people affected by the riots. Their report is to be presented to Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday.

The riots began in London on August 4 following the death of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, who had been shot by police in an attempted arrest. They quickly spread to Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.

Five people died in the unrest, which caused an estimated 500 million pounds (600 million euros; $800 million) in damages. Police arrested around 4,000 in connection with the riots, and cases are still being heard. Most of the rioters were under the age of 24.

The unrest, the worst in decades in Britain, led to questions about the state of British society.

ncy/ai (Reuters, AFP)